My name is Phil and I use too much technology to keep my kids entertained… there I’ve said it. Feels good to get it off my chest but in fairness (to myself) I’m sure I‘m not the only one, and if AA did support groups for techno-abusive parents I would imagine the room would be filled and the meeting a lengthy one at that!
I might be being a little harsh on myself but I started fatherhood with all the best intentions of not having kids sat in front of TV’s and certainly not in front of an Ipad… I mean what 2 year old can or should be able to use one… tut tut tut. 18 months later and I have totally eaten some humble pie on that one!
Managing two kids is hard sometimes and particularly on those days when it’s really bad weather for example, it can be a long mentally draining day trying to keep children entertained. In our house just getting the crayons out is hard work as Haribo likes to have all the crayons to line up, then there’s the refereeing when Jay manages to steal one and all hell breaks loose, then I spend the time talking to Haribo about sharing only to turn around and find Jay smiling with teeth like he’s been eating unicorn poop…. Its exhausting!
So, if your days are like this, then I’m sure you can understand why I shove Trolls, Moana or Toy Story back on the telly for the second (okay third) time that day?
I do try my best to stay off my phone when spending time with them as I understand the ‘barrier’ it can create (although I’m not wedded to this argument so please feel free to tell me its okay to sit and stare at my phone whilst Jay repeats the words ‘woody buzz, daddy, woody buzz’ over and over at me).
Last week, as I sang along to the Trolls film playing in the back ground, I sat… on my phone… and googled ‘Ways to entertain toddlers’. Now I know what your thinking… “I thought you didn’t spend time on your phone in front of the kids, it creates a barrier blah blah blah”… well I wasn’t. The boys where in nursery, what can I say I just really like the film.
Whilst perusing the great ideas google came up with (sense the sarcasm) I did stumble across a book (which will remain nameless as I wouldn’t want to get in bother as I am about annihilate it) which claimed to offer 365 entertaining ideas for kids. ‘Oooo, one a day’ I thought, ‘I can do that!’. A couple of clicks later, £5 lighter and thanks Mr. Amazon, I’ll be accepting my Dad of the Year award in 2019!
Needless to say the book was seriously pants! 3 of the 365 ideas where types of bubble solutions you can mix up, 6 of them where Valentines Day ideas, 6 Easter, 3 Paddy’s Day and so on, so there goes a years worth of ideas, and a fiver I might add, up in smoke! I’m now feeling justified in a little Ipad and Trolls time as clearly the experts writing books can’t find enough to keep toddlers occupied for that long.
Back to the drawing board I go and a few more clicks later and I found the words I needed to hear… “Parents are NOT children’s entertainers’. I’m pretty sure I heard angels singing in background as I read on. In seriousness the article was really interesting and reassuring, as it talked about technology in moderation, but also how important it is to ‘create opportunities for boredom’ as this is when their little imaginations develop.
So now, for at least a good 20 minutes a day I make a brew, switch all the TV’s and Ipads off, sit and stare at my phone and send my darlings off to play, which they do so happily together… and if you believe that you’ll believe anything. More like 20 minutes consisting of having the words ‘Poppy Telly’ shouted at me and more refereeing of toys.
So, give yourself a break if you’re struggling like me, lets not be couch potatoes by any means, but if they’re happy, well fed and loved children who get a bit of cabin fever from time to time then so be it I say!
I think I might go back to work after all, anything for a quiet life.