How We Do Screen Time In Our Home

This is a sponsored post in behalf of WebSafety, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this space possible. 

At some point within the last year I found myself falling into this trap of lies, that it was okay for my kids to spend more time on media because I have a special needs child, or Em is grumpy, so here have a phone, or Jay is going outside to play and that's hard to do with Em, so she can have a little more screen time than Jay. These were lies that I found I was telling myself to avoid bigger issues in my life, like tantrums, meltdowns, and avoiding having to figure out how to make our lives more accessible to Em, instead of just pawning her off on a screen. I became dissatisfied when other special needs parents would tell me, "That's just how it is...", because despite the amount of time Em was spending on devices each day, I desperately wanted more for our lives.

The just a few days ago we took Em into the occupational therapist for the first time since we moved here, and she was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder. This shed so much light on a lot of the meltdowns we were experiencing at home, and the lack of sleep for three years, and one of the biggest things the therapist told us we could do over the next several weeks is to cut off all screens at least two hours before bed. Doing this over the last three nights has a made a dramatic improvement to how much faster Em falls asleep, and more sleep has translated into better behavior during the day.

While the media has been cut off after 5pm in our home, there are definitely times during the day when we still use it. I let the kids watch something on the television for about 20 minutes while they eat breakfast before school, because we've found that this is best way to get Em to eat breakfast, especially since this is a time of day that is already stressful for her, and then eating on top of that, we've found that watching something can take her mind off the other things stressing her out, and she can at least get a meal in before school.

In the afternoon when I need to get some e-mails and other work done for about an hour, I'll typically let Jay work through some educational apps on my phone, and I'll let Em watch some preschool shows like Daniel Tiger, or Team Umizoomi, and although they are shows, I can tell that she has learned a lot from them, which helps me have less guilt over the situation.

After I get my work done though, we head downstairs and will play with toys in the living room, or do bubbles or swings outside until it's time to make dinner, and then it's screens off for the rest of the night until the next day. It's not a perfect solution by any means. I know that a lot of other parents do a lot less screen time, but it's what works for our family right now and our particular needs.

Obviously my kids aren't old enough to be on social media, nor do they know how to use the computer on their own, but when they get older and start being more digitally independent, I 100% plan on using WebSafety to help keep my kids safe online.

WebSafety is an app for Android and Apple devices (including tablets), that monitors text messages and social media use, and allows you to see what photos your kids are posting and interacting with on apps like Facebook and Instagram. Should your child access something in those apps that you don't want them to see, it sends your phone a real time alert so that you can address the problem immediately with your child and talk to them about why that content is inappropriate.

At just $5.99/month WebSafety is the lower cost, most comprehensive tech to address smartphone usage for kids. For more information about WebSafety, visit their website, or download the app in the App Store. 


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