Ahoy, Cresthill families and friends!
Captain Cresthill here, with your weekly check-in!
As we come to the end of our sixth week of this new normal, the theme of this week’s check in is:
relaxing and re-framing.
As this pandemic continues, we are reminded of the need to modify our daily routines not only physically, but also mentally: our expectations, rules, and standards for ourselves and our families must reflect the current reality, rather than our “old” normal.
If you are working from home with a young child, it will come as no surprise to you that your child is probably getting more screen time than they ever have before—what may come as a surprise to you is this: I am asking you to give yourself permission to remove the shame surrounding added screen time. I am fully aware of the impeccably high standards that are set for the avoidance of screen time in young children.
However, of this I am certain: those standards were NOT written during a global pandemic.
As with anything, moderation is most important. This week’s highlight article, titled “Parents, cut yourself some slack on screen time limits while you’re stuck at home” by Brenna Hassinger-Das truly does put it best (not just in their title), by breaking down which rules regarding screens should be broken, bent, and kept.
This article encourages parents to break the previous rules on daily screen time limits. It also very fairly points out that there are different types of screen time, and that even the American Academy of Pediatrics does not include video chatting in screen time limitations. (Hassinger-Das, 2020). In our current reality, chances are that for your child to see their friends, teachers, or their grandparents and other family members—a screen will be involved.
Depriving them of these social opportunities when their social world already became so limited, hardly seems like the answer; especially when these types of “interactive” screens are not considered to be in the same category as passive screen time, like watching a movie or show. AND, even in the cases of watching a movie or a show—please refer to the table in the article which compares “recommended” vs “real-life” screen times—before passing judgement on your own current parenting tactics! Remember: everyone is just doing their best, and no one will be perfect—relax the reigns on the rules, if that helps your family to get by.
Next comes re-framing. I invite you all to remember that although they may not fully understand the reasons behind it, your child is also experiencing a huge uproot of their daily routine during this pandemic. They are having to change their habits and schedules without fully comprehending why—which, let’s face it—may be even harder than when we are asked to do it, because at the very least we, as adults, can fully comprehend and appreciate WHY these changes are so crucial.
As such, as your child copes with these changes, there are BOUND to be times when they find the button with the direct connection to your “last nerve”, and they lay their precious little finger right on it. It is in these moments that I urge you to take a deep breath, a step back, and re-frame.
Before jumping to anger or frustration (which is so much easier said than done, I understand); consider that those feelings, anger and frustration, may be exactly what your child is experiencing, and that the behavior they are demonstrating is a direct result of not knowing how to channel those feelings. This does not mean that you should not correct your child’s behaviors, just that when doing so, you should focus on what they CAN do instead—rather than on what they CAN’T do—because to them (and to us, honestly) that “can’t” list seems to be ever-growing lately.
For example, if your child takes these feelings out physically (stomps their feet, throws their body, throws an object, slams a door, etc.) re-frame the thoughts in your mind, remind yourself they are going through change too, and help them to redirect their physical behavior in a different manner—“I see that your body is frustrated. It is not okay to slam doors, but it is okay to be frustrated. Let’s JUMP (or hop, or dance, or shake out) out our frustration, together.”
So, whether your child meets you with a change in their mood or behavior, or various (repeated) requests to do the thing you already told them they cannot do, (go to the park, play with a friend, eat at a restaurant, ride their scooter indoors)—remember to re-frame and keep in mind that frustrations are probably pent up on both sides, theirs AND yours, and a quick break of fast jumps may be just what both of you need, to stay sane.
Cresthill Families and Friends, I urge you, as you relax and re-frame, to remember that all you can give is your best, and that no one is doing it perfectly.
Hassinger-Das, B. (2020, March 19). Parents, cut yourself some slack on screen time limits while you’re stuck at home. Retrieved April 22, 2020, from bhttps://theconversation.com/parents-cut-yourself-some-slack-on-screen-time-limits-while-youre-stuck-at-home-133904