Recently on our Facebook page, a mother posted that the grandparents let the kids have too much screen time. Both sets of grandparents were watching her kids for her while she worked (they were taking turns), but one set let her kids watch TV and play on their tablet all day. She felt frustrated by the situation and asked for advice. This can be very hard, because the grandparents are helping you out by watching your children, but you also want to make sure that they are not be over-stimulated with electronics.
Our supportive Facebook followers had some amazing advice for when grandparents let the kids have too much screen time and we want to share it with you.
- “Honestly, let them enjoy whatever they are doing…..within reason. It used to really bother me what they ate, watched, played with, went, and got bought for them….but now I let it go. It’s a fun time and not all the time. Now, the only way I’d regulate it more is if they watched my kids every day or we lived with them. Then it would almost be like a co-parenting situation instead of a purely grandparent situation.” ~Ariel Evans
- “Right now the kids are little, so the issue should stay “little”. However, when they are older a more clear direction will need to be given due to homework, more structured activities (soccer, dance lessons you can’t really know what the children will want to participate in). ” Jo-Anne Peregrim
- This story is a great reminder: “My dad’s mom now has dementia and can barely remember my 7 year old twins. They have so many memories with her, though. There were a million times that I had wanted to say (and sometimes did) for her to not do things with them, because it was against the way we wanted to raise them: like letting them pull everything out and put them all over the floor. Or like letting them drink Coke with her, during their makeshift tea parties, or her crawling around on the floor with them because they asked her to do this, even though she KNEW she’d hurt and be sore the next day. The thing is that she was happy in the moment and so were they. Now, she’s lost her memory of that day but they haven’t. It was 100% worth it.” ~Ariel Evans
- “Maybe have a discussion as to why you don’t permit so much screen time and offer some activities in place of that? If there is a reason they can’t be physically active with the grandchildren, there are still plenty of quiet activities that are fun and educational- coloring, reading, crafts, etc. ” ~Heather Haugn
- Take a few new board games over to grandma’s house.
- Have a “grandma’s box” collection of toys. It goes to grandma’s house and the kids know that they will only get it when they are there. It is more exciting this way!
- Think about yourself as a child. I can remember sitting in front of my grandma’s television with a plate full of pancakes and bacon, while we watched a show on her living room floor. I remember it because I wasn’t allowed to watch a lot of TV at home and I certainly wasn’t allowed to eat in our living room. It was like a whole new adventure for my seven-year-old-self! It may become a fun memory for your child one day.
- Ask your child about it. Maybe grandma is watching it with them and they are talking/bonding/snuggling during the show.
- Limit screen time at your own house on weeks where they will be at grandma’s house. Maybe even have a no-technology week.
- Choose the shows that they watch, or pick the apps. Maybe you can take over educational movies (you can rent these for free at most local town libraries). Even schools are using technology throughout the day- this could be a positive experience if you can suggest ideas. If the kids don’t want to do this, they can find something to play with that isn’t an electronic devise.
- Take over baking kits. Maybe a “make your own gingerbread house” kit or a recipe with ingredients to make your favorite cookies. Something fun like this to involve the kids would be an easy way to take up some of that TV time, without need to say anything about the issue.
- “You have to remember they are older and may be limited as to what the grandparents can do. I am not down on the floor with my grandkids. Give the grandparents a pass, as they are the grandparents. Grand parents are not the parents and are not there to make rules or anything like that…they are just there to love the kids and to just indulge the child.
- “The bonding time with their grandparents is very important and it is okay that they’re views are different from yours. Remember, your child is in your home, following your guidelines the most, so the few times he will be with his grandparent(s), its not going to hurt him to do things a little different, but will help him see different perspectives.” ~Laura Reed
In the end, remember that this is your child. Think about how you want to handle it carefully. Try to be open-minded either way. You need to think about what is best for your child and everyone involved. Maybe even suggest one of these ten-minute kid activities to break up the TV time. It could be a win-win! In the meantime, stop by our Facebook page, where we talk about topics like this on a daily basis!