The more the merrier, they say! :) However, when it comes to children, merrier might mean also busier. And this time it is not about finding time to go to hairdressers. Most of parents probably have experienced lack of time to do casual, vital things like cleaning up the house, getting groceries, and etc. This is probably why so many parents break and eventually offer their children modern technologies - children are drawn in and they are staying in one place (= not making more mess), they are mostly quiet, and they are not bored and stepping on your toes saying “mom, I don't have anything to do!”.
Still, in our hearts we all know that modern technologies is not the solution to go for. Experts repeat again and again how bad and destructing it is to offer your child modern technologies for more than 30 minutes a day, but sometimes it is simply so hard to find time for grown up things that this option seems SO tempting!
Why is it so bad to get drawn in cartoons, computer games, and etc.? Because that is all artificial stimulus of your child's brain. It is all bright, loud, with many objects and things happening, however, all of this is not influenced by your child - he doesn't have to do anything but he is so entertained! Here we cannot speak about him imagining things, making decisions, expressing himself and his thoughts..it is just a “sit back and relax” kind of situation!
No wonder that there is a saying “habit is a great deadener” by Samuel Beckett, as when such entertainment becomes a habit, a child stops paying attention to his experience - he starts to enjoy these things like cartoons in auto pilot and is not truly feeling or living the moment. Needless to say that this doesn't develop any of the skills needed to afterwards succeed in life or to create the habit of being in control of their life. It only creates a bad habit that will eventually overwhelm him and in no time you will be asked to give/show him cartoons or otherwise he will either scream, refuse to do something, and etc.
Additionally, if a child is spending all his time in “another reality”, there isn't a time in a day when he feels even a little bit bored. And being bored is good for children as it stimulates one's imagination. You probably remember from your own childhood that when you and your friends/siblings were bored, the best games and activities came to your mind! You always found how to have fun. And you did it on your own, not by pressing a button on a tablet. Learn more about why being bored is good in this article.
One of our clients, Roberts, agreed to share his experience how they dealt with children being bored and wanting only cartoons. The approach he took was that he removed all cartoons in one day and said that there simply are no more cartoons in their home. Children were upset for about 5 to 10 minutes and then suddenly ran off to play with their real life toys. Of course, time after time they kept asking for cartoons to come back, but persistence paid off and after a week or so cartoons were simply forgotten, because children saw that they can have fun also without them. He tried to offer them toys that are versatile, simple and without any strict guidance and it worked! Now their children know several ways how to entertain themselves in a developing, healthy way and he and his wife can have more time for themselves (or doing the dishes:)).
He also said that finding good toys is crucial to get rid of “the cartoon habit”. If you could use some help in finding such, here is a little guide for you to check out - GIGI Bloks.