Here’s a tiny little “this is working for our family right now so maybe it will for someone else too”:
Our only form of screen time for our kids right now is TV shows and movies. We usually stick to preschool shows, Pixar/Disney movies, and YouTube videos about how things work or “behind the scenes” of stuff or plumbing being installed or windmills being built or things like that.
Both my kids really like to have something on the screen at all times, even just the screensaver that the TV puts on if a show is paused for too long.
Lately I’ve been putting on a “rainy/thunderstorm” or “cozy scene” type of video. They’re usually like 8-24 hours long and absolutely nothing happens; it’s an image of a flickering fireplace, a rainy window, a distant thundercloud with lightning, etc. I don’t even think most of them are “real” as in have been videoed but rather are computer-generated.
They’re very soothing. I like having the rainy or fireplace white noise in the background. My kids run around and play, occasionally stopping to stare or zone out looking at the flickering fireplace or the running rivulets of rain or whatever — doing what their brain wants to use a screen to briefly regulate for, to zone out and feel soothed and feel visually involved and all of that. But there’s no plot or anything happening to “hook” them into watching any longer than that.
It also seems like it keeps the noise volume down a notch or two, anecdotally speaking. I wonder if this might be because in moments where they are not making noise, the remaining noise is not utter silence — which can feel threatening — but rather, a soothing white noise. So, they don’t feel like they need to drown out the silence with the sounds they make.
Also, we’ve gotten to talk a lot about various new vocabulary things, like talking about the fireplace, candle, throw pillows, the woods outside the window in this particular picture, and the whole concept of “cozy spaces”. My daughter told me what kind of couches she likes best. 🙂