Real Talk: Screen Time Struggles

Let’s real talk. I’m a mom of two under three. It’s the dead of winter. I live in a
two bedroom Baltimore City row home. I have no yard. Not telling you this to
commiserate with me, although I’ll take any pity you sling my way. But simply
saying the screen time struggle is real. Every. Single. Day.

Sesame Street is boss in our house. But I try really hard to keep it at an hour a
day for my two-nager (see AAP recommendations below). When that hour is spent,
the creativity unravels. I’m here to share a few ideas I have up my sleeve to spark
some creativity and limit screen time use.

1. I bought a simple shoe organizer that hangs over the door (via
Amazon) that I keep all of our craft/ sensory play in. Because it brings
me JOY. #Kondo. In these compartments are things like play dough,
water beads, markers, glue, paint, kid safe scissors, paper, pom poms,
pipe cleaners, beads, wiki sticks, etc. We have a letter of the week and
focus on sorting and color/ shape identification mostly these days.

2. Also, busytoddler on Instagram is a wonderful resource with fantastic
ideas. The creator is a big proponent of sensory bins so there’s a
plethora of different bins to create that are easy and affordable.

3. I allow my daughter to help a lot in the kitchen. We prep lunch and
dinner together. She enjoys simple tasks such as shaking the
cinnamon on the sweet potatoes and tearing off the cilantro leaves for
the pizza topping (who likes that job anyway?). Word to the wise: This
will slow down the process quite a bit… so don’t expect that 15 minute
dinner Rachel Ray promised if your toddler is meddling in it. BUT… on
the bright side… I notice that she is much more willing to try
something new (think radish and mushrooms) when I am allowing
her to help.

4. Storyville. This is probably not new information but this place is such
a delight on a rainy, snowy day. Both locations (one in Rosedale, MD
and Woodlawn, MD) are bound to brighten any toddler’s mood.
Seeking to create an early literacy environment, this interactive real-
world play will have all of you wanting to return.

5. Check out Nature Centers near you. These are great outings in the
winter because it gets everyone exploring a little outside. Fresh air
and also interacting with nature. Even in the winter, things are
happening outdoors and its fun to get out there and learn about them
together.

AAP Recommendations:

• For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-
chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media
should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them
understand what they’e seeing.
• For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality
programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they
are seeing and apply it to the world around them.

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