After hearing the results of a study saying nearly half of all U.S. parents admit using an iPad or laptop as a babysitter, I'm a) relieved to hear that plenty of moms and dads do this, and b) not all that shocked about it at the same time.
And no, the study isn't suggesting that some parents literally use technological devices as babysitters so they can go out for a night on the town and leave their kid at home on the couch. (Duh.) It refers to parents who use them as a means of keeping their child occupied so that they can take a break, get stuff done around the house, or just enjoy a little bit of down time.
No biggie, right? Oh come on, you mean you don't reach a point a few times a week once in a while when you just need a few minutes to yourself to regroup -- so you hand your kid a device, take a deep breath, and enjoy the silence?
(Don't lie. You do it too.)
We all do. Or at least I'm not too high and mighty to admit doing it. Actually, I've been hitting the iPad and laptop up as a last minute "sitter" for at least a few years now.
As much as I love playing with my son and enjoy every single second with him wholeheartedly -- I also have various tasks and chores that need to be done on any given day of the week; otherwise, everything will completely fall apart. Whether it be finishing up work for the day, folding and putting away a couple loads of laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, paying the bills, making dinner, etc. -- sometimes I really need a few minutes when I know I'm guaranteed to have no distractions or requests. That's where the iPad and/or laptop comes in. There's really no other way of putting it -- technology is a God send and I don't know what the heck I'd do without it some days.
And honestly, where's the harm in letting our kids have a little fun? They love playing games, learning, and exploring while using these devices. Truthfully, it's a skill they need to have in this day and age anyhow.
As for any parent out there who says he or she hasn't resorted to using technology to entertain their kids from time to time? Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and call their bluff on that one. Something tells me there are quite a few moms and dads out there who refuse to admit to doing so out of fear that they'll be judged or labeled bad parents -- which is just nonsense.
Using an iPad or laptop doesn't make you a horrible mom or dad -- it makes you a smart and resourceful one. And as an added bonus, 9 times out of 10, it makes you a rested and more calm parent too.
Be honest -- do you use the iPad, laptop, or any other device as a "babysitter"?
Image via Mary Fischer