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.This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for my information.
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?