Families choose to limit screen time considering the recommendation of American Academy of Pediatrics where children ages 2 to 5 years old should have no more than one hour of screen time per day, because excessive screen time can have negative effects on a child’s development, including decreased physical activity, poor sleep quality, and delays in language development.
Though this may be true, some might say that being screen-free is a privilege not everyone can afford. It all comes down to us all being different in our situations, our thresholds, our values.
Why Do We Allow Screen Time as a Montessori Family?
Personally, we have held it off as long as we could, only permitting video calls during the pandemic, then the use of Spotify and Messenger. At around 3.5 years in of parenting, we have accepted that we are quite helpless without a few (to several) minutes of screen time as the demands of work, needs for personal time, and the sometimes lack of help persist.
I also came to realize that technology has become part of this generation’s life and we can’t really withhold it for so long lest they become tech-illiterate in this digital age.
We can look at having screen times negatively all we want, but we can also have a try at looking at them as grace opportunities for ourselves and our children. Perhaps, what we just need to do is pick carefully.
Our Responsibility as Parents Regarding Screen Time
Having said all that, we are still responsible to provide them a variety of experiences for hands-on learning and exploration that develop important skills they would need as adults, such as creativity, problem-solving, and independence.
With this positive enforcement, we can in turn limit screen time to the minimum. Such activities can include outdoor play, sensorial work, and practical life activities such as cooking and cleaning and more.
While it’s true that TV should never be a substitute for real-life experiences and education, we can filter which programs are appropriate and aligns with our families’ values. It’s important to be mindful of the content that your child is watching by watching them before or alongside them.
How to Choose Montessori Friendly Shows
Ask yourselves these questions regarding each show:
|Is it too loud, fast, and flashy?||If yes, it can overstimulate young children and may result to a breakdown if halted.|
|Do they depict negative behaviors such as hitting, bullying, lying, or disrespecting others?||If yes, it can influence the child to imitate those behaviors and have a negative impact on a child’s development.|
|Is it age-appropriate?||If not, then the child might feel confused and overwhelmed.|
|Does it rely heavily on fantasy or unrealistic elements?||If so, then it can blur the lines between reality and fiction for young children and potentially impact their understanding of the world around them.|
|Does it have scary elements or characters?||If so, it can cause undue stress and fear, which your child might not be able to bring to your attention themselves.|
|Does it rely heavily on rewards and punishments to influence a child’s behavior?||Montessori advocates for intrinsic motivation, where children are encouraged to do things because they find them personally rewarding, rather than for external rewards or to avoid punishment.|
I have listed a couple of shows that have been recommended by us and other Montessori moms over the internet. These shows are not all perfect in a sense, but they are great options over others that litter the web.