Single Moms Should Use TV & iPads as Babysitters Even If It's Bad for the Kids

Sometimes I have no idea how I’d manage without the proverbial “electronic babysitters” known as the TV, the iPhone, the computer, and the tablet. Actually I don’t have a tablet, but I do have a 4-year-old iTouch and that’s basically the same, right?

Anyway, there are times when I just need to keep the kids out of my hair. As a single mom, I don’t have anyone to hand them off to for a few minutes of “sanity time” at the end of the day. When they’re with me, it’s just them and me, and if I need to get something done, it’s so easy to sit them down and tell them they can watch a show if they agree on it.

They like it, because this usually translates to one show each, as they’re five years apart and are generally into different genres. That’s 44 minutes in which I can get dinner together, finish up some work, make phone calls, or even just catch my breath.

But here’s the downside I seem to always forget about when I have the brilliant idea to break out the electronic entertainment -- they turn into screen zombies.

Remember that part about not having a partner at the end of the day to pitch in with the parenting? Yeah, that means I get the TV tantrums all to myself too.

Every single time, I promise myself that I won’t ever do that again, or at least I’ll hold out longer next time before caving. But then I’m back at square one eventually. Because that beautiful glow is such a treat for them, they sit mesmerized -- and quietly.

Sometimes a single mom just needs a moment of peace, even if Strawberry Shortcake is on in the background.

And let’s face it -- it’s easier to deal with the post-screen time meltdowns than to stay trapped in a destructive marriage.

Do you use screen time to get a little peace sometimes?


Image via Michael Cramer/Flickr

electronics, ipad, iphone, ipod, tv


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nonmember avatar blue

I just really don't agree with your position on this...

the4m... the4mutts

Im not a single mom, but I am a very involved mom. And yeah, I TOTALLY use the screens as babysitters for when I need a shower, or to cook before hubs gets home, or to occupy the 2 younger kids while I help the 2 older ones with home work (and vice versa)

It doesn't hurt them, and it helps me. So fuck it.

NoWei NoWei

Never. It makes children stupid.

Emma Graham

Hmmm.... My five year old has his own Leap Frog tablet, XBox and watches cartoons. Yet in spite of that, he reads on a fourth grade level, can name all the planet's in order from the sun, name most of the bones of the body, is learning Spanish.....etc. So there goes the "screens make kids dumb" theory.

erlar... erlark2012

People who act like TV is a monster for children are totally bogus. My 18 month old LOVES her cartoons & you know what? She's very bright & has learned lots from her shows.

NoWei NoWei

It's no wonder American kids so fat and dumb. 

nonmember avatar .m.

Nope. when my husband was deployed I would just have them play with their toys. that or I would shower and stuff when they were asleep. sorry I dont have a million of kids I can't take care of.

nonmember avatar MySweetBrena

In my house the only thing we have is PBS and a Nook (which is mom's, but my son has his own profile with educational games). I use these as a tool to help my son's non verbal autism. We watch super why to help him learn to sound out words, and learn his abc's. We watch Daniel Tiger to help learn how to handle social situations. And Curious George because I have always read the books to him! But I also sit with him and watch with him to help better explain and encourage him to vocalize. It has really helped his vocalbulary improve!

As for the assumption that he is "fat" and "lazy". My son is actually toned. He is incredibly active! Dad takes him to the park or outside very day. Then we spend all night playing different pretend games, puzzles, or he plays chase with the cats!

nonmember avatar Chrissy

I rarely ever comment on these things but ugh to some of the above comments. If you are raising happy, healthy, productive little humans then keep on doing what works for YOUR children in YOUR home. Moms (dads/parents/guardians, etc) really need to be more supportive of one another. Being a parent is the absolute hardest, overwhelming, yet most rewarding, and enriching job there is. Be happy and enjoy your children however you can, if allowing yourself 22 minutes to yourself while they watch a cartoon helps in that, then so be it.

Guest27 Guest27

I think tv is ok in small dosages, but I'd rather encourage playing with toys and siblings or looking/ reading books.

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