The Weekly Review

by Chris Bowler

How much screen time?

The last two weeks have been odd, to say the least. I mean, for me, the day-to-day rhythm feels pretty close to normal. Staying at home for days in a row is something I'm used to. But in every other sense, things have changed.

Rather than been annoyed or frustrated, I've tried to approach this entire situation as an opportunity to rest. That can be hard when you have young kids at home, but I am finding not having to drive people to various events fives nights a week has been peaceful. We've developed a daily routine that gets everyone outside (and we're blessed to have an acre of space to run around on), helping with chores, being creative, as well as entertain themselves on various screens.

How much screen time?

On that topic, I have seen a lot of parents expressing concern about screens and trying to find a routine that encourages other activities. Which is good. But also, let's not place too much pressure on ourselves — this is not a time to be adding stress.

There is a healthy balance to be found and it can involve more than 60–90 minutes of screen time. For our home, that can be as much as 3 hours per day in addition to whatever family viewing we do together in the evening. If our children are going to be awake and at home with us for 14 hours each day, there is plenty of time left for work, learning, and creative activities.

One other aspect affecting how I feel about screens is the social impact. If your children are older, there's a good chance that gaming is a way for them to connect with their friends. Something they're doing much less in person because of social distancing. So if our 14 year old son chooses to do his screen time from 8:30–11:30 pm playing Fortnite, talking to his friends all the while, I'm happy he has the ability to do so.

Oh yeah, school too…

Thankfully, this major shift in life came just as we were heading into spring break. But I feel for any parents who are trying to juggle work and home life, while simultaneously feeling the pressure of taking on their children's education.

Give yourself some slack in all of these areas.

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