All too often we hear about how social media, the Internet and too much screen time is stealing the quality time we "should" be spending with our children. These articles preach to parents: Put down the phone and step away from the computer.
While I am the first to admit that sometimes having a constant connection to the world at our fingertips can be a distraction, my use of social media-Pinterest in particular-actually improves my parenting.
Improves parenting? Absolutely! By spending five minutes on Pinterest this morning while having my morning coffee, I was inspired to bake banana bread and chocolate zucchini cake (with my children as helpers), make beef stew for dinner, read a quick article about parenting a strong-willed child and find an adorable craft to celebrate fall.
I know I'm not alone.
Kristin Riva (kjano44), mom of Carson, 4, and Chase, 3, says she checks Pinterest at least twice a day-usually on her lunch break and again before bed.
"I have pinned ideas on child behavior, games/crafts, age-appropriate learning activities, and healthy, but kid-friendly, recipes," she says. "I have also started using more green/homemade cleaning products because they are cheap and easy to make and I know they are much safer around my kids. Also, I don't feel I'm a crafty person, so seeing many inexpensive and easy games and crafts to do with my kids motivates me to do them."
The photos make it so user friendly. Often, I will hold one of my kids on my lap and scroll through the photos. Sometimes my son will see a photo of an activity or a food he thinks looks appealing and then we do it.
For the non-crafty mom, like Brooke Earnest (bearnest14), mom to Colton, 7, and Callye, 5, the craft ideas are endless. "(Pinterest) has changed the amount of crafts I create with the kids," she says.
The wealth of ideas available for every situation make Pinterest especially parent friendly.
As a room mom for my children's preschool Halloween party this year, the first place I looked for ideas was Pinterest. One simple search and I had more ideas than I could ever use.
Kathleen Ricci (mintoad), mom of Christie, 7, Anna, 5, John, 4, Leah, 3, and baby Daniel, touts Pinterest with helping her to organize the millions of ideas available online.
"I'm more likely to remember to make a craft because of Pinterest. Before I'd bookmark the site or save an email and it would get lost in a list."
Now, she pins a photo to remind her of the idea and can quickly find what she's looking for. "Pinterest has mostly given my thoughts, Internet travels and ideas from blogs an organization and better way to utilize those ideas."
So, the next time a fellow parent is at the playground and staring at their phone, don't be so quick to judge. Maybe they are on Pinterest planning the next fun, educational activity for their little one to enjoy.