I see so many videos of toddlers watching content on the TV or the phone. They don’t just watch the said content with rapt attention but are also able to manipulate the phone screen to do things like watch the next video. Our son who is almost 2 does not possess this ability. He may occasionally say things like “Put a song on the TV” but because we never let him use a phone or use it as something to distract him he isn’t particularly attracted to devices. I don’t write about this to indicate that we are a holier than thou kind of parents.
However making this choice has important consequences. It means that to a certain extent his eyes aren’t exposed to screens for longer than necessary. I have seen other kids his age throw fits of rage when the device is attempted to be taken away from them. Though my son sometimes gets a hold of the phone and attempts to use the touchscreen, he never protests when I snatch it away from him.
The other most important consequence is that because we have decided that no matter how cranky he gets the phone will not be used as end all to appease him, it forces us to get creative with how we chose to distract him and get him to eat his food or go to sleep. I find myself asking him questions, making up ridiculous stories, playing some songs on Alexa, dancing like a clown or simply encouraging him to keep doing things that make him light up with happiness. It’s demanding of our time and requires an infinite amount of patience but some of my most joyful moments have come from these interactions with him.
He is growing fast and will get more opinionated as time moves on. One day we may not be able to keep him away from the gadgets, but until then I will continue to enjoy these precious moments and for parents who still haven’t given in to the phone it’s not too late. These memories are forever.