Having Child Development Knowledge
Don’t you wish you suddenly had all the child development knowledge you needed the second you became a parent?
With over a decade of experience working with families, a child development degree, and a master’s in early childhood, I genuinely thought I had this thing in the bag.
I obviously very quickly realized that was not the case.
In school, we talk about the big picture stuff - about what children need in theory, according to science and research.
What we don’t learn is the day-to-day of motherhood. How to be present, but also keep the house clean. How to connect, while still feeling like an adult. How to stay sane, while spending all day every day with small humans who have millions of demands and expectations and feelings.
Like most parents, I quickly jumped on using tv as a mental break for me, especially while I was pregnant with River. I knew screen time should be avoided, but honestly I just didn’t see anything convincing enough to make me give up my peace and quiet.
It wasn’t until a year and a half later (when Shea was almost 3) that I really began to notice how much tv affected his behavior.
He rarely played quietly, always needed me, constantly wanted to “stop” or “save” things super hero style to the point I was actually worried he might try to stop a car.
I struggled to connect with him. He would scream and run around the house, especially at bed time, and if we tried to stop him... it was as if something had taken over his body. We couldn’t make eye contact or reason at all. He just couldn’t hear us.
I slowly started cutting out specific shows and limiting tv time and now, he’s basically a whole new child.
He plays quietly and contently all day every day. He doesn’t need my constant attention as long as we connect regularly throughout the day. He rarely does the behaviors that I mentioned above (that I now realize are signs of overstimulation). Our days really are just peaceful, with minimal effort on my end.
My heart breaks because I now realize how much our tv habit was setting him up for failure, but I’m so grateful I can do better now.
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