After A Week of Limited Screen Time

Last week, I wrote about encouraging my kids to veer away from screens (TV, iPad, iPhone) and explore other activities, such as painting, crafts, dance and music.

Commercial Free Childhood

It’s amazing what one week of moderated screen time can do! I’ve encountered little tantrum-throwing, the minis can pay attention to one activity for longer periods of time, they’ve learned to share (they used to fight a lot over toys), they are also very good at pretend play with the simplest of props like a cardboard box turned to a castle or a bath towel turned into a magic carpet — the minis are generally happy. And happy minis = one very happy mommy (and daddy, of course)!

Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.

 You can read more about this at the American Academy of Pediatrics website.

I know what you’re thinking: “But the only way I can get my kid to sit still is by turning on the tv!” or “But to get my child to stay in one place in a mall is by letting her play with the iPad!” I had the same reasons when I first thought about limiting screen time… and it was hard — extremely challenging — when we started to implement it. But, after reading a lot of resources about the effects of screen time on children (many thanks to Amy Jussel of for emailing a couple of links for our reference), A and I decided that we really just have to go through the difficult transitional phase from screen sitting to real play. You know, the kind that requires the minis to move around, explore and make their imagination work.

READ:  Selected Research on Screen Time and Children

It has only been a little over a week since we started, but like I said, the minis are now much less dependent on screens for entertainment. Just this morning, I turned on the iPad to check my inbox and they didn’t swarm towards me to get their hands on it! The Princess just went on playing with a towel that she uses as a robe in her pretend-princess game while The Little Man was immersed in trying to figure out how a yoyo works.

This is a huge milestone because if you read my previous post about limiting screen time, I was having a hard time getting our boy to play with real toys. Good news: He is finally done relying on the tv for entertainment! *confetti* He loves his trucks and the yoyo we got as a party favor. He especially loves listening to me play the guitar while my little girl enjoys listening to me play the violin. She’s my number one fan! She gives me a standing ovation all the time with a matching “Bravo!” PS: I’d like to thank A for having my violin’s strings replaced. He truly knows what makes me happy!

So yes, this media management at home thing is pretty awesome. Commercial-free childhood sounds nice, huh? It actually goes well with my other mission, which is to slowly remove processed food from my family’s system. Of course, with all these changes going on, I had to sacrifice a bit of my time that I used to put into work and house chores to be with the minis while they explore and learn new things through first-hand experiences — not through tv or apps. But with proper time management and discipline, I can still get things done.

Give it a try, too! You’ll be surprised at how attentive, creative and independent will be after a few days of managed screen time!

Kimberley Reyes

Kimberley Reyes is an Online Business Manager for entrepreneurs who are ready to get off the hamster wheel and step into their CEO shoes. On top of helping her clients get organized and scale their businesses, she is also happily busy raising her five kids with her firefighter husband.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. lally

    This will be my advocate also. kaso lang, laging kasama ni Rylee is yaya. But if kasama naman ako, I let her play lang with her toys. i think I should be more strict na lang. Thanks for sharing this sis. 😀

    1. Kim Reyes

      No problem, Lally. 🙂 I think that’s one of the disadvantages of leaving our kids with the yaya. Medyo walang control over things like screen time. I’m lucky that I get to work and stay home with kids. But for most working moms, this isn’t the case. The best thing to do is to talk to yaya about the limits. Hopefully, she will impose the rule on your Rylee.

  2. That’s so true even when they get older you know 🙂 My daughters will still prefer spending their time talking to me than playing on their tablets.

  3. May De Jesus-Palacpac

    We advocate the same thing. Although honestly, we’ve let some excess multi-media time slipped us on some occasions lately. It can really be so hard when we’re so tired or busy with work…the temptation to make these devices and gadgets the yaya is so strong.

    On the good days, I distract my kids from TV or gadgets by providing them lots of paper, pencils, and other art materials. Most of the time, it works. On other days, I really force them to play out in the yard.

    1. Kim Reyes

      It’s really tempting to turn to screen sitting when we’re tired, noh? Eventually, though, the kids will get a hang of independent play. Tiis-tiis lang talaga. 🙂

  4. Mitz Leviste

    Yes, I agree with limiting screen time for kids and yes, it can be done! We notice that our kids turn into zombies (as in walang ibang pinapansin) when they’re on their iPads and we don’t like it at all. We make a rule that they can’t play on weekdays and limited hours pa on weekends. End result? They find other things to do like read books, play board games, do arts and crafts. Kaya naman pala! 🙂

    1. Kim Reyes

      My little ones (2 and 1) are too young for board games so we usually just play with blocks, paint and play music. I agree with you- I, too, noticed that my kids are like zombies when the tv is on. This is why my husband and I got worried about letting them have their screen time.

  5. Camille Aguila

    Wow. I envy you! The way you’re transforming your household makes me all guilty about not being able to do that. Ugh! Slice my head open!!! I strictly lessen iPad time and I keep it where no one sees it so the kids won’t remember needing to play such. However, tv time is a big leap. I can’t jump that high yet since I’m living with my parents and tv is shared by everyone. So, yeah. Slice my head open! haha.

    I’m getting more and more interested with your posts cause it gives me a lot of information and encouragement, specially with parenting. Keep it up!

    1. Kim Reyes

      Aww, thank you! I’m glad someone appreciates what I write. Hihi!

      I had the same problem when we were still living with my parents. We don’t have control over the tv so I had no choice but to let the kids watch with their grandparents. Plus, they can easily throw a tantrum and get what they want (what they want = tv time, lots of it) kasi spoiled sa grandparents. 😐 We only started to make changes on our lifestyle when we finally moved to our own place. And the changes weren’t sudden. It took four months for us to finally make the decision to do all these things for the family! Mahirap din kasi eh.

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