Toys versus Technology
We officially became “Wilcox: Party of 5” this year, and it has been a whirlwind. Every aspect of our lives has changed since we welcomed our sweet baby girl in January. I often jokingly say, “Having a baby at 37 is way different than 27.” While that is very true, it is also very different parenting a baby at 37 as opposed to 27. I’d like to think we are older and wiser, but we are also so much more tired!!!
The same can be said for parenting a child in 2019 versus 2009. The world has changed so much in the past decade. When Jaycie was born, we didn’t own iPhones, iPads, laptops or smart phones. She was raised on traditional toys and DVDs in the car. By the time Cooper came along, iPhones and iPads were a part of our daily lives. However, no one knew the effects technology would have on young children. This was new territory. Cooper was drawn to all things tech. Like most parents, we were downloading toddler and preschool apps and letting the kids enjoy themselves. Cooper was obsessed with these apps and taught himself to read over 60 sight words before the age of 2. We were oblivious to when or how this happened. It was such an amazing sight to see, we didn’t even began to think of any negative effects.
Baby Cooper teaching himself to read.
As time has passed, there are now numerous studies on the impact that technology has had on childhood development. While I have read many articles and studies, I’m not going to quote any statistics here. I’m just going to share this Mama’s thoughts. Like donuts, caffeine, and fiber, too much of a good thing can be bad. When our older two are on devices for extended periods of time, we see some unwanted behaviors. They have to undergo a technology detox before we get our sweet little babies back. In order to enforce some moderation in our lives, we operate on the 6-6 rule. Devices can be used between the hours of 6:00 am-6:00 pm. Cutting off those screens by 6:00 pm has resulted in better sleeping habits for them, especially Cooper. We throw in some “iPad Free Days” some weekends as well.
Parenting isn’t easy, and this is definitely one of our hardest areas to enforce. BUT- the results are worth it. When technology is off the table, we find that our kids play together, create new games, build forts, and actually ask to go outside! We never really knew Cooper enjoyed coloring or drawing until he went to school. Just this week he imposed his own device ban so he could finally finish a book he was reading. It is certainly baby steps, but it is working for us right now.
Who needs a device when you have a box of book?!?
Now that we are starting over and parenting a baby, we are faced with the challenge of technology versus toy. We are definitely choosing toy for this little one. We do not want her on devices or phones for as long as we can help it. This requires all of us to be a good example for her. Thankfully, her main interest in my phone right now is to chew on it, but I know she sees me have it in my hands constantly. So, now is the time for me to lay it down and pick up her toys. Now is the time to teach her about balancing all of those good things in her life, even donuts.
How are you handling the toys versus tech debate in your household? Feel free to offer suggestions for all of us to use.