I saw a post on instagram earlier today that was discussing the harms of screen time for babies and children as well as the negative effects of parental screen time in children's presence. It also talked about how parents must speak 2,100 words to their child per hour to ensure optimal language development.
While I know this post was well meaning and did contain good advice it made me want to offer the other side of the coin. While I do think there is value in minimizing screen time and maximizing verbal communication, I also think there is value in moderation. After reading the post I found myself feeling immediately guilty and like a bad mother. After all, I was reading it in Henry's presence. But I quickly stopped and reminded myself that I am a good mother. I do so much for Henry and his health, happiness, and well being are always at the forefront of my mind.
Do I check instagram in is presence, do I text when he's around, do I use my phone to take pictures and videos, do I occasionally watch TV while his breastfeeding or even while we're playing or cuddling? Yes, yes, obviously, and yes. Does that make me a bad mother or does it doom Henry to a less intelligent, successful future? I don't think so.
I think it's important to check WHY we do or don't things as well as the purpose and intentionality behind them. Do I worry with everything that I do whether or not I'm giving Henry the best upbringing? Absolutely. But I also hope I can teach both of us to let go of that worry and live presently, acting in each moment in the way we feel is best and right.
Moreover, I think there is a power in silence and simply being together. Of course language development is incredibly important, but I think that incessant talking can have a negative effect as well.
My point in addressing this subject is to raise the idea that with as much information as there is out there about ideal child rearing, sometimes you have to listen to your gut and trust your instinct. Whether it's about screen time, language development, or any other parenting topic, make informed decisions, and choose the path that is best for you and your children.