Prior to #1, I swore my children would not have screens as entertainment in their childhood. How naive I was! As a matter of fact, I’m typing this while #1 sits next to me watching videos on my cell phone.
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While I have that nagging ‘failure as a mom’ feeling knowing that he’s doing this, sometimes it’s just necessary for me to get a break. I do my best to keep him actively engaged in other activities, but some days are just ‘those kind of days’ and it’s easier to give him a screen than combat the tantrum.
I can’t say all bad things about his YouTube addiction though. This little guy has learned colors and numbers far better by watching videos than he ever did with my efforts. I could sit for hours and work on colors with him, coloring noodles and matching construction paper squares. But then, some random person comes along and matches the PAW Patrol dogs to colors and all of a sudden, this kid is a genius.
That being said, let me share with you the best YouTubers we’ve stumbled upon thus far:
Recommendations for Worthwhile YouTubers
Toys and Colors
#1 refers to this as “Uncle John and Wendy.” Clearly popular amongst everyone, these YouTubers have 8.9 million subscribers! This is a family that plays pretend. They are entering their third year on YouTube and have over 5 billion views. Yes, billion, with a ‘b.’ I claim at least one million of those views just from our house, or so it seems. Currently, #1’s favorite video of Toys and Colors is the one where Uncle John drops his ice cream. Watch it here:
#1’s latest YouTube discovery, Funnel Vision has 2.2 million subscribers and almost a billion views. “FUNnel Vision is a family of 6 with 4 kids Lexi, Michael, Chase & the baby brother Shawn! We like to say HAVE A FUNnel Day, like Fun ‘Ol Day ’cause that’s what we do on this channel,” (Funnel Vision, 2016). With videos posted weekly, they are regularly updating their content and giving their fan base something new to enjoy.
Goo Goo Colors
This family joins the list with 2.6 million subscribers and over 1 billion views. “Goo Goo Gaga loves to learn colors, pretend play, songs, alphabets, counting, and reading books about nursery rhymes,” (Goo Goo Colors, 2014). Most of what I’ve seen of their channel is pretend shopping videos, something #1 is really into right now.
This adorable little mouse offers quite a deal most days. Our family picked up a one-year membership for a mere $45. Though, it looks like their site will set you up for $59.95 for the year now. (Check Groupon for deeper discounts!) Though the program is repetitive and monotonous for the preschool track, it drives its points home and children are able to learn the basics.
This has turned into a huge lifesaver! We have Netflix on our Kindle Fire and we take it with us on every road trip. They have recently introduced a feature where you can download and save videos to watch on the go. No more internet connection necessary. Genius when you’re stuck on a long car trip with a toddler that desperately wants out of their car seat. Currently, #1 likes the “Netflix Original Boss Baby: Back in Business” episodes and the “Netflix Original/Dreamworks Dinotrux.” Check out other Netflix Originals Your Child Will Love, too.
Amazon FreeTime is a one-stop shop for children’s entertainment. They offer everything you need to feel good about putting your child in front of a screen.
#1 has the Kindle Fire I got for my 30th birthday. (Thanks, Hubs!) I used it for the first year or so of #1’s life. It was excellent for reading when #1 needed a bottle or was up all night. Sometimes I even read out loud to him and he fell asleep quicker, or so I think, I might have just been delirious. With no pages to turn and something small and lightweight, it worked perfectly. Plus, the blue screen feature is one to be loved!
Regardless, it’s no longer my Kindle. It is now covered with sticky fingerprints on a near daily basis, but it still does it’s job – entertaining. And, honestly, it’s held up for three years and through torture and tantrums of a two-year-old. Trusty fellow, indeed!
Though, I will say, nowadays, they make super cute one’s for kiddos:
With a 10-hour battery and a kid-proof case, what’s not to love?
Circle with Disney
This cute little square is called a Circle, cause that makes sense. But, it’s from Disney, so I’m sure it’s fantastic! It allows you to link and manage every device in your house. Need to block certain apps? Or set time limits to make sure homework gets done? This device will be your best friend!
PBS Kids Playtime Pad
Looking for something with a little less frills and much less access to the world wide web? PBS has solved your problem! They’ve created a small tablet that offers over 20 educational games and all the parental controls you could need.
Set a Timer
Whether you ask Alexa to do this for you, or you link up the Circle device mentioned above, make sure to set a limit on the screen time. And, most importantly, make sure your little screen user is aware that there is a limit.
I know with #1 I usually tell him “two more minutes,” and when those two minutes are up, he usually asks for two more. By having an alarm go off or the access cut out, it’s an easy way to end the activity at the same time.
After Dinner, Until Bath Time
If you’re working from my family schedule, you can always build screen time into your activities. In our case, we allow screen time from the time dinner is finished, until bath time starts on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. This works pretty well for us, but take a long look at your schedule and determine what is best for you. Having a regularly scheduled time for screen time will also allow your kiddo to know what to expect.
Extra Time on Weekends
This goes without saying, honestly. Weekends are much more relaxed around our house, so it’s easy for #1 to get away with watching screens more frequently. This can also go hand in hand with any sort of allowance payout your family might do. Perhaps along with the weekly $2, your kiddo can also receive a coupon for extra screen time.
Screen Time Rules
- You must do learning activities before watching videos or playing games.
- When shutdown comes, if a tantrum ensues, there will not be any screen time the following day.
- When shutdown comes, if shutdown is successful, there will be extra screen time tomorrow.
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I hope these tips and tricks help you and yours combat the screen time conundrum more easily. Good luck!
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