How to Win the Battle Against the Screen Babysitter
Slaying screen time can be a challenge for any parent. Having kids takes time and a lot of energy. There are things pulling us in many directions: household chores, bill paying, preparing meals, making phone calls, and just a need to relax. Let’s face it, Moms need downtime for many reasons. Sometimes, moms are so desperate for some quiet time we are willing to do just about anything. In today’s world, What is the go-to babysitter? The T.V. or tablet, of course! Yes to screen time!
No, no, no! If you are like me, you do not want your kids stuck to a screen all day long and for good reasons.
Here are six reasons not to use screen time as a babysitter.
- Studies show that screen time isn’t healthy for developing brains.
- Kids tend to be more hyper after they have vegged out in front of the t.v. or tablet.
- There aren’t a lot of high-quality t.v. programming or games for Christian families.
- Many shows and video games are violent, contain adult material, or use bad language.
- Kids become irritable when their screen time is over and they beg to keep on watching or playing.
- If you are like me, you feel guilty sitting the kids down in front of the screen.
What is screen time and what is slaying screen time?
Screen time is any device with a screen such as smartphones, tablets, computers, laptops, and televisions. Slaying screen time means finding not screen time activities that build imagination, fine and gross motor skills in children. Screen time is an easy babysitter, but also an unhealthy babysitter. Moms still need downtime from their children to reenergize. If screen time isn’t the solution, what is the solution?
High quality, audio dramas is the answer to slaying screen time. One of our favorite producers is Lamplighter Theatre Audio Adventures. We were first introduced to Lamplighter at a Christian bookstore when I was traveling four hours round trip to take my children to a Vacation Bible School across the state. By day 3, the kids were driving me and each other crazy. We were tired of riding in the car and we had listened to all of our Patch the Pirate CDs (which we love too) and we were looking for something new to listen to.
A lady at the church bookstore suggested a CD called Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince. I had never heard of it and I was skeptical. I also purchased Teddy’s Button because it was a book I wanted to read for many years.
As soon as my children and I got in our van, we opened the CD and started listening. My first thought was, “what in the world is this?”
A little word of warning about the format of Lamplighters Theater.
Each story begins with a modern-day character who visits a bookstore owned by Finnian Jones. These visitors are struggling with every day modern problems. Finnian Jones is an eccentric bookstore owner whose bookstore is quite unusual. Finnian listens to the visitors’ problems and then finds a book from his extensive book collection and sits the visitor down to read the book.
The first time I heard this, I was very skeptical of what I was listening to because it was so quirky. My prejudgment had me disappointed. But now that I understand the structure of the stories, I have come to appreciate these unique introductions. They are funny, set the story for the listener, and even create anticipation to the visitor’s response at the end of the story. It is a creative way to introduce each story. Imagine it as reading the back cover of a book before you read it.
After Finnian introduces the story, the real adventure begins. You see, these aren’t just any stories, they are long, lost forgotten treasures brought to life.
We were hooked. The two-hour van rides seemed very short and the time and miles flew by as we entered into a world of adventure and excitement. When we arrived home, my kids begged to stay in the van to hear the end of the story. Which we did, because I wanted to hear the end too. These stories are not just for children. My husband and I thoroughly enjoy them too.
As our Lamplighter collection grows we love listening to new adventures as we travel in the car, but we also enjoyed listening to them over and over. It is a special treat for my children to listen to them in our home too. They will usually sit quietly, listen to the story, and play Legos. This is a great way to pass the time on cold winter days when it is too cold to go outside and play. I can go about with my household duties, but often times I find myself sitting down to listen with them.
Six benefits of each story.
- Classics– Most of the books were written well over 100 years ago, yet we can relate to them today.
- Appropriate for all listeners– Lamplighters has painstakingly produced each story to remove any questionable material for young listeners. Although these stories can be intense, they are always appropriate.
- Educational– each story teaches positive character qualities and it builds their imagination as the child pictures the story in their mind’s eye. We can also discuss the character qualities displayed by the hero of the story and apply it to the character qualities we are learning in homeschool.
- Entertaining – we have laughed. We have cried. Then, we sat on the edge of our seat. We have also sat in the driveway in our van to hear the rest of the story. It is difficult not to fall in love with the characters and feel like we really know them.
- Biblical – each book lifts up the Bible. Many of the books share the plan of salvation. These stories exalt faith and devotion to God and the Savior.
- Accents – Your children will be able to mimic British, Irish, French and many other accents perfectly. Ok, I am kidding with this benefit, but my kids do mimic accents almost perfectly and it is very entertaining.
A list of our families favorite Lamplighter Theatre stories:
- Teddy’s Button
- Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince
- Hedge of Thorns
- The White Gypsy
- Basket of Flowers
- A Peep Behind the Scenes
- Candle in the Window
- Boy of Mt. Rhigi
- Unexpected Return
- Buried in the Snow
All these stories are available on CD or MP3 download at https://lamplighter.net/c/
Each story costs about $15-30. If this seems expensive, believe me, they are worth every penny. The lessons your children and you will learn are priceless. Also, Lamplighters runs specials throughout the year. Join their mailing list t be notified of these specials.
Please stay tuned for future posts where I will give a short synopsis of each of our favorite stories and tell you about some special programs that Lamplighter offers. (Side note: this is not an affiliate post. Lamplighter is a 501c3. I just love their ministry so much and want others to benefit from this extraordinary ministry).
Slaying screen time in our modern, technologically dependent world can be a challenge. Next time you are tempted to use screen time as a babysitter, may I encourage you to try audiobooks, specifically, Lamplighter audio dramas. You will not be disappointed.
Have you ever listened to Lamplighter Audio Dramas? What is your favorite story? What other audio dramas are your favorite?