Like it or not, screen time is a part of our kid’s lives. Whether it’s making it through the last part of a long car ride, a desperately needed break for mom or dad, or the extra home time pretty much all of last year, devices and technology can be flat-out lifesavers. While I make a conscious effort to limit this time, it’s not always possible. But sometimes, there’s a magical show that comes along that breaks all the rules. For us, that show is Bluey.
The show centers around Bluey and her little sister Bingo, a family of dogs living in Australia. Their imaginative and creative play highlights the magic of childhood. The sisters are often playing together, but their parents are also extremely involved and never seem to tire of playing along with the kids. The simple games Bluey and Bingo play have inspired my kids to play their own creative games. And, the show has inspired me to stop what I’m doing and play with them.
I have to admit that I’m a parent that struggles a little to stop what I’m doing and play a game. I function best when things are neat and tidy. I’m always running laundry, picking something up, or getting ready for work. Maybe I’ve relied on screen time too much in the past. This TV show has become a reminder that while those things are important, it’s just as important to stop and take the time to play. I’ve learned that this may look different for everyone. I like to draw, so setting aside some time for art projects is easy. Or we’ll have family game nights. Whatever it looks like, finding a healthy balance between work and play is a great example to set – both for yourself and for the little ones.
Screen time is even the subject of one of Bluey’s episodes. In it, everyone realizes at some point that they’ve been on devices and tablets for far too long. Then, they get out the bikes and go to a park. Have some fun as a family. Every family needs moments of downtime, and zero screen time can be an unrealistic goal. I used to look at screen time in more of a negative way but lately have been more optimistic about the positives it can also provide.
One of our favorite episodes shows Bluey’s dad picking up takeout at a restaurant, and they have an unexpected wait for some missing spring rolls. When one parent is alone with the kids, so many challenges can ensue. We laughed as Bluey turned on a tap and water was flooding the street all the while Bingo is going to the bathroom. Bluey putting chopsticks in her teeth and saying “I’m a walrus,” while Bingo eats spicy takeout and spills the food. I think every parent has been there. In the moment, it can be tough. But as the fortune cookie in the show said, “Flowers may bloom again, but a person never has a chance to be young again.
Therein lies the magic of Bluey, and why I’m happy to break my own screen time rules every time for this show. There are life lessons to be learned, for both kids and parents. There are fun ideas for playtime and reminders of games that you made up as a little kid. But most of all, there’s the lesson that kids need to be kids. This time is fleeting. Even though I don’t naturally gravitate towards playing along with their imaginative games, taking the time to participate and be silly means a great deal to them. Those are the moments they’ll remember the most.