Using FaceTime as Back-Up Babysitter for Your Kids

Let’s face it. It’s hard watching a busy toddler while trying to clean, cook dinner or even shower. And with so much on the to-do list, a helping hand for maybe 30 minutes would be a lifesaver.

Desperate for help and lacking options, some parents are using FaceTime as their “secret weapon” for entertaining their little one to get things done, the New York Times reports. So why are these parents resorting to virtual babysitting?

Well, according to this article, it’s being used by those who don’t have relatives that live close by for “last-minute help.” So instead, they resort to technology as an alternative. While mom or dad is getting something done in another room, an aunt or friend, for instance, is (in theory) engaging the child in creative fun and play.

While this may seem like a great way to involve family members to have those cherishable moments with your tot, there are also negative developmental effects that experts were eager to voice their concern about.

Dr. Wendy Swanson told the New York Times it’s important for children to develop the skill and art of dealing with boredom or non-stimulation. This can be achieved by leaving them in a safe place to entertain themselves while tackling household tasks.

With more stay-at-home moms blogging about this new millennial parenting technique, many parents are weighing in with their feedback.

New York Times commenter Sass from Utah agrees with Swanson. “Ugh, this is ridiculous. Babies and toddlers don’t need constant stimulation. What’s wrong with a stack of board books in the crib or pack and play?” she argues. The Stir commenter mompam feels the same way. “Why not just let the kid play with her toys while you do chores? Or color? Why does she have to be constantly entertained?” she says.

On the other hand, others are on board with the virtual filler and see it as a quick opportunity to distract their child while quickly getting things done.

New York Times commenter SarahB shares her experience. “This worked for a brief time in our household when my son was still small enough to sit in a high chair, and I could set the phone just out of reach. He’d happily “chat” with my parents while I re-heated and plated supper in the next room…We got some nice grandparent time in…I didn’t have a squalling toddler in the high chair,” she says.

The Stir commenter DJC247 agrees and takes up for parents who use this method. “Be happy that the other parents have found something that works for them and helps them out,” she says. “Parenting is the hardest job there is. Give each other a break.”

So what’s the right answer? I guess it’s all preference. I don’t see the harm in it. Hey, if I can use a Disney movie to keep my girls entertained while I make dinner, what’s so bad about using some “face time” to entertain them and get some bonding time in with a close family member.

(That is, of course, provided your toddler doesn’t tap off or hide your device, leaving grandma in the dark.)

What do you think?

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