The Umair Takeover: Youtube

Thursday 15 August 2019

Before I became a mom, I had this entire parenting plan all worked out. Then the baby came and the plan magically turned into dust and you learn to live life precariously and spontaneously. Everyday is just unpredictable and you start making decisions you never thought you would. How to handle youtube is one of them. So last week, I asked my Instagram family whether they limited their children's screen times and if they did, how do they distract them away from it and when do they allow it. About 310 people responded, of which 90% limit their children's screen time.

Now, being a mom... I hate it when other people mom-shame other moms. Every mom is just doing their best trying to stay sane while keeping their babies happy and safe. So whichever you prefer, you do you, boo. You are doing absolutely amazing and you're kicking total ass. Don't let other people put you down and judge you for being a working mom, a SAHM, for not fully breastfeeding, for giving them the pacifier, for allowing screen time, for taking hours away to do your nails or whatever because you have your reasons and it's none of their business.

Anyway, pulling myself out of that mom-shaming rant now to get on with the main point of this post: Youtube. It's obviously different for each and every child, and obviously you know what's best for your own kid. With my little prince, we try to limit his screen time for various reasons. Firstly, his eyesight. I'm a bit worried that the glare from the screen would ruin his eyesight quite early in his life. Secondly, (we realized this at the beginning) he does not respond to us when he's engrossed with these videos on Youtube. Initially, this worried me so much, I was worried about his attention and concentration span, as well as his ability to interact with other people. So we limited his exposure, read him books and entertained him with flashcards and toys... and Alhamdulillah that's when he began to start speaking.

Those who have responded typically allowed for screen time when we want them to just stay put i.e. during diaper changes, when they're eating, when we're eating (lol so true), when we're getting ready to go to work, on the plane, at restaurants while waiting for food to arrive and when they've resorted to emotional blackmail and thrown out tantrums on full blast (while sometimes I probably shouldn't give in to this, other times it's a survival mechanism for us to stay sane hahaha those who don't agree with me are lying). 

While I'm sharing your responses, let me just share a bit more... a lot of you limit the screen times to only 2 hours a week or only during term holidays. Faye (hi!) plays Youtube on TV so her son doesn't get to choose and eventually gets bored of it. One even changed her phone's wallpaper to a photo of the Joker so her nieces never touch her phone anymore hahaha. Genius. Another mommy also just downloads the videos and switches off the wifi, and that way her son isn't able to fall into the Youtube rabbit hole which we are all guilty of. 

What do we distract them with? You guys responded with a bunch of stuff, mainly toys, puzzles, books, giving them our attention by playing with them and introducing them to more outdoor activities etc. I totally agree with this. I think with Umair, you have to just quickly distract him with something else. I am in love with whoever made Pinkfong song books though. You guys are awesome. That helped us a lot because Umair loves them and it basically makes our car trips more peaceful. He has other books too now but his Baby Shark and Dinosaur song books are still the saviors... and now he knows the names of some dinosaurs which is amazing. At 1 and 10 months, I don't think I knew what a Stegosaurus was. In fact, mom told me I only started talking when I was 3... and now I can't ever seem to shut up that I even felt the need to open a blog to write down my thoughts!

When he wants Youtube in our room, we play it on the big screen and he does eventually get bored and starts playing with his football and slide (and suddenly there's a big mess of my lotion on the floor and he's totally dismembered the insides of his dad's wallet). I do love it for the songs and music though. Umair loves to dance to them and the other day we were so shocked to hear him singing to all these songs. We've also downloaded apps that we'd prefer him use other than Youtube like Dave and Ava's Numbers & Counting and Alphabets. He learnt numbers and alphabets mostly from there. There are some good and bad in giving screen time, I suppose. Good is like when he rejects a call I don't want to pick up haha bless. Anyway, jokes aside... thank you everyone who's shared their stories. Like I said before, the mommy community online rocks. Sending love to each and every one of you!


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