Embrace Technology (+ Other Entertainment Options for Kids)

This is Day 4 of our series on “Surviving & Thriving with a Newborn” — part of the 31 day writing challenge hosted by the Nester. Every day in October I’ll be sharing a tip about how to make the most of and enjoy the sleep-deprived newborn days. For a list of all the posts in this series, click here.

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Embrace Technology (+ Other Entertainment Options)

On a typical week day, our girls may watch one 30-minute video in the afternoons during their quiet time. With a newborn, though, that screen time has doubled. Sure I don’t like it. In fact, I feel a little guilty when I hear our girls quoting “Jake & the Neverland Pirates” because they’ve watched it so much. But when you’re worn out, nursing the baby every 2 hours, and any little thing sets you off, popping in a movie is often the easiest (& safest) bet.

Mama, don’t feel guilty about letting your kids spend a little more time behind the screen. In this season, embrace technology. This isn’t your new normal; it’s survival time. You’re trying to fill up the time until Daddy gets home, or maybe you don’t have the energy to entertain them.

BUT I caution you to be mindful of what your children are being exposed to. My kids have certain programs they’re allowed to watch, which Mama must approve.  My kids are not allowed on Youtube; and, they can only play educational apps that I’ve installed on the iPad. Mama, even though you’re tired, keep a close eye on ALL devices. The devil is sly and will sneak into your home wherever he can, so be vigilant.

Before you browbeat me, I know there are better alternatives to screen time, but it isn’t always possible to pursue them when you’re losing steam or trying to soothe a screaming baby. A little extra TV or computer time won’t scar your child. Just remind your kids that it’s only for a season. When life returns to normal and Mama’s getting more sleep, they won’t be watching so much TV or playing so many video games. Think of it as vacation time.

However, if you really don’t want to “embrace technology” — and I completely understand your concerns — here are some alternative entertainment options to consider:

  • Coloring books or doodle pads (the Dollar Tree is great for these)
  • A dry erase board with washable dry erase markers
  • Educational workbooks (we like these & these)
  • Dress-up clothes
  • Institute read-aloud time (this is something we’ve been doing while Mama feeds the baby)
  • Art box
  • Play outdoors (this is so important)
  • Listen to audio books (we borrow these from the library)
  • Craft projects (my girls love anything Melissa & Doug)
  • Independent reading time
  • Blocks or Legos

Don’t beat yourself up if your kids wake up asking for cartoons. Mine do. Most mornings I say, “No,” but by 3:00, I usually cave. Remind yourself that this is temporary. Very soon your newborn will be taking longer stretches at night, and you will sleep more too. Your energy will return and so will a sense of normalcy. Then, you can rein in on the technology overload. For now, though, prop up your feet and pop in Veggie Tales.

Do you allow more screen time after the arrival of a new baby?

What other alternatives would you recommend?

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Comments

  1. I will echo your encouragement to not feel guilty about using technology during this season! I know it’s not what many mommies want for their littles, but this is where we slack when we bring home a baby, and after 9 years of this parenting gig & 5 babies the extra technology hasn’t been a big deal. Once I felt well enough to go back to our normal technology time, the kids jumped back to their old routine just fine. They came to understand that things are a bit different with a new baby, but things won’t stay different. 🙂

    Honestly it seems that the moms who are concerned about over using technology are the most diligent moms I know. They’re awesome moms not because they didn’t slack on technology usage during these tiring months, but because they’re just diligent moms. Diligent in raising their children up in the word of God, and all those lessons from raising & training don’t get thrown out the window just because we need to utilize a season of extra technology. Sorry for the lengthy comment, but I just love that you included this! Too many great moms feeling unnecessary guilt. 🙂
    Caroline recently posted…You’re Known by The AlmightyMy Profile

  2. I am planning on writing about this very topic in my preparing for #3 series! I think that the olders are going to have to have a bit more screen time, and I am learning that may start before the new baby even comes home. I unfortunately don’t have all the energy in the world! I really love the PBSkids.org app and PBS Kids in general, I feel like those shows/games are pretty safe, and very few commercials, which I really like.
    Heather recently posted…{31 Days} Preparing for Baby # 3 – Homeschooling with a NewbornMy Profile

  3. Thank you for saying this. I didn’t utilize this with my first 4 because of guilt, but I finally started doing this when numbers 5-7 came along. What a lifesaver!
    Lisa recently posted…31 day writing challenge: Tech free dayMy Profile

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