We all know screen time is a hot topic—when it comes to both how much television kids should watch and how much is healthy for adults too. But for any parent who gets through the tough hours at the end of the day by thinking about how nice it will feel to finally tune into some guilty pleasure TV, know you aren’t alone: According to the new Serious Watchers Index, 82% of moms and dads admitted to tucking their little ones in a bit early so they could watch something with a rating above PG.
There’s no need for guilt when it comes to putting your own self-care first every once in a while, especially when you have growing kids in need of some extra sleep. (Besides, we do learn some valuable lessons from those fictional moms.)
After all, another study recently published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found parents in Western countries today spend a lot more time with their children than parents did in the 1960s. So if your grandma didn’t feel guilty about serving microwaved Spam for dinner, you shouldn’t get down on yourself for wanting to watch a grown-up show on occasion.
The trouble comes when the TV starts to take priority.
The new Serious Watchers survey, conducted by LG USA, found 59% of parents confessed to doing the early bedtime trick frequently. More than 37% of parents said they’d ditched events like parent-teacher meetings or the school play because of must-watch television. And 36% even admitted they cut a family trip short to make it home in time for their favorite show.
Since we live in the age of DVRs, this really isn’t necessary. But, if you still find yourself doing it, it may be time to turn off the tube and set your own screen-time limits. As mindful parenting expert Tejal Patel recommends, you can start breaking your TV (and general tech) habit with baby steps.
- Turn the TV off before your kids’ bedtime: It will be much less tempting to send them off to bed early if you aren’t already absorbed in a show.
- Take the TV out of your bedroom: If all you want to do at the end of the day is crawl into bed, try cozying up with a good book instead.
- Set morning and night limits: Start and end the day without TV. Not only does this help you get your head in the right space, but sets the general tone for how much TV is acceptable.
Just like with kids, screen time recommendations should help us create healthy boundaries—which, in your case, certainly allows for some Stranger Things 2.