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Friday, March 7, 2014

Update: Trading Screen Time for a Healthier Family

I had every good intention when I decided to give up my smartphone during family time, and I'm counting on you guys to keep me honest. So I'll tell you: it's not as easy as I thought it would be.

Johnny getting an early start on the screen time addiction

I took the day off, and I never considered the amount of work-related correspondence I engage in when I'm not at the office. In the grocery store my husband pointed accusingly at my phone while I texted.

"What are you doing?" he asked, gesturing to the child in our shopping cart.

It also took a lot of restraint not to check Facebook and obsessively track my blog stats. I did my best, and we had a great day. But when my husband left for school in the evening, I knew what I had to do. I plugged my phone into the charger in the bedroom upstairs and went into the downstairs playroom with Johnny.*

The first toy he seized was his beloved soccer ball. Luckily, our playroom is big, so I decided to play catch with him. (Bear with me while I parent-brag - my 16 month-old not only throws balls directly to us, but he also dribbles the soccer ball with a dexterity he certainly didn't inherit from me.)

I discovered several things during this roughly 30 minute activity.

(1) When I used team-sport jargon like, "Johnny, I'm open! Throw it over here!" he was into it. It felt like we were playing a real game (without rules, of course).

(2) He got the hang of throwing the ball and waiting for me to throw it back, as opposed to chasing it.

(3) He really enjoys watching me run from one end of the room to the other. Consequently, if at any point I stood still, he nudged my leg with his hand to encourage me to dart across the room and throw him the ball.

(4) Apparently I haven't high-fived him enough in the past few months, because every time I tried he gently kissed my hand.**

(5) I am really out of shape. I broke a sweat within 5 minutes.

(6) Most importantly, my son and I laughed so hard we could hardly breathe (again, I'm out of shape).

Sorry I don't have any pictures or video, but as you know that was against the rules - and it would have broken our focus. We had a blast!

See the origins of this endeavor here.

P.S. In the spirit of honesty, I did jump on my phone once he was asleep (I'm weak!). So here are some links that made me laugh (or smile) this week.

*I never go into the downstairs playroom without my phone. What if he does something adorable and I don't catch it on video? What if he stands in the perfect light and I don't capture the image to share with all our friends and family? Or... what if his next word is "IPhone," as my aunt Peg suggested the last time I posted one too many videos?

**He high-fives his dad all the time. Definitely need to do this with him more, so he doesn't strictly associate Dad with playtime an Mom with hugs and kisses.

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