Imagination Makes Sense

My girls admittedly get to binge-watch on normal Saturday and Sunday mornings. But in this time of “social distancing,” they’ve been watching far too much screen. And so yesterday, for any fans of “The Berenstain Bears” out there, I pulled a Mama Bear and instituted a full screen ban. This was met with cheers and exultation by all.

Yeah, right. 

Believe me when I say my five-year-old experienced an hours-long detox yesterday afternoon when I took away the remotes. And the iPad. And the Switch. We’re talking heartbroken sobbing, an indignant tantrum, turning to her sister for solace and commiseration … then more crying, more tantrums, and finally … thankfully … acceptance. As a parent, it was exhausting. But the rest of the afternoon and evening progressed much more pleasantly; we read several chapters of “Superfudge,” my teenager set up family game night, and they capped it off with a ‘sleepover’ in the same room.

Here’s the thing: when there is screen overload in this house, my girls become sassy and nasty and all-around irritable with each other. And ugh, the attitude toward their parents kicks into overdrive. According to the research I’ve read over the years, not to mention a book on the correlation between behavior and academics and screen time, this is common amongst almost all kids and teens. Goodness knows it holds truth in this house.

A week or so ago, I reposted a letter to parents that said, “There are no ‘rules’ around how to exist ‘best’ during a pandemic. Don’t stress about screen time …” and I took that to heart. I relaxed my rules about screen time because I thought this ‘treat’ would allow my girls some comfort. Turns out, not so much. 

But that letter also said, “Lean into whatever feels best for your family, whatever makes sense for your children, whatever allows you the mental and emotional space to be okay for the next few weeks.” 

This morning was a new day. Instead of heading straight for “Odd Squad” and “Rizzoli & Isles” (don’t judge: my daughter wants to work for the FBI and is thus obsessed with reruns of crime dramas), there was reading and Legos. Later this morning they started a puzzle together. As I type, they are building a fort that will put other forts to shame. 

This morning was a new day. Instead of heading straight for “Odd Squad” and “Rizzoli & Isles” (don’t judge: my daughter wants to work for the FBI and is thus obsessed with reruns of crime dramas), there was reading and Legos. Later this morning they started a puzzle together. As I type, they are building a fort that will put other forts to shame. 

I agree that there are no ‘rules’ for how best to get through this pandemic, and my children may think more screen time is what best comforts them … but I know better. Imagination is what makes sense for my kids. Quality family time, whether it be reading together, baking together, playing ‘Operation’ together, constructing a massive train track together … 

“Together” is what will get them through whatever comes beyond. 

Published by Emily

Along with being a secondary English teacher, I'm also a book junkie, planner addict, music devotee, "FRIENDS" fanatic, organizational enthusiast, former journalist, & hippie at heart. My affair with writing began in third grade, and it will always be my first love.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: