the {really} great screen time compromise

25 February 2016

Like lots of couples (I would imagine!), before Simon and I were even engaged we had lots of things planned out and set in laughable stone regarding how we would raise our children. Many of them we've stuck to but two of the most specific rules we had laid out we have failed our former idyllic selves.

One: the kids wouldn't lay eyes on any screens (ever lol)

and Two: that we would never buy them fun and junky treats (we always used fruit snacks as the example/culprit).

I can assure you that not only have we purchased fruit snacks but there was a time where I kept several packs stashed in my purse for emergency situations. The horror.

I can also assure you that we are not the screen time police that we set out to be all those years ago.

... if we could turn back time and see the ghosts of Simace past take a gander at this snap.

I have dear friends that adhere to the no-screen rule and I respect and admire their dedication to their decision very much. And, I'm okay with us not sticking to our original plan because there's a time and place for a little appropriate screen time here and there under our roof. We've always streamed the typical favorite kids' shows on our laptop and on our Nook so you can imagine our excitement when we found out about CuriosityStream. CuriosityStream IS sponsoring this post but I told Simon all about it before he knew they were a potential sponsor and he said, "let's get it!" with a little kitchen tap dance for added enthusiasm and flare. 

CuriosityStream is truly awesome and is the world's first non-fiction, family-friendly and ad-free concept that streams loads of educational and engaging shows involving science, technology, civilization, and the human spirit.

The kids (obvious) favorite is the 26 episode animated series, Mind-Blowing Breakthroughs that explores famous inventors ranging from Einstein to Marie Curie.

It's understandable considering her age but Phoebe is usually extremely averse to joining the kids for a little show time but she's stays oddly calm and engaged when I put an episode on for the boys during the day while I get their lunch ready (or um ... eat my own in relative peace).

When Julia gets home from school and the other kids go down for their naps, she's always quick to want to grab the Nook and watch a little something while I start getting dinner ready or tackle our current Vesuvius laundry situation.

Some days I let her but I feel quite a bit better about letting her go to town with the Lumiére Brothers (first filmmakers in history - but you know that, I'm sure!) instead of something with absolutely no educational spin.

There's also a series geared toward kids that are slightly older called Quarx that features three kids testing the boundaries of Physics with wacky adventures. There is a 100% chance that I would learn so much watching Quarx because Physics and I did not get along back in the school day. 

The kids series are just the tip of the CuriosityStream iceberg, though. There are over 1300 different programs to watch and learn from and new titles are being added every week.

At night, after getting the kids down and the house to a relatively good place in the "mostly clean" department we often like to veg out and watch something together but it can be hard to find something that we both like. I love watching documentaries (and my favorite franchise, obviously) but not necessarily any that Simon is thrilled about watching so finding a special on Frank Sinatra Or America's Golden Age was nice because it was something we could both appreciate and enjoy.

just super excited not to be watching The Bachelor.

CuriosityStream generously gave us a free trial to try but Simon said he's worried he won't get to everything he wants to watch so you can count us in the paying customer club before too long.

If you'd like to join us in the club the first 100 sign-ups will get to try a 30 day free trial and 15% off your first three months by using coupon code: patton and clicking here! Go, go, go!

CuriosityStream can be watched on a variety of devices including: Roku, Android, iOS, Chromecast, Amazon Fire, Amazon Kindle, Apple TV and of course web app. 

Happy Watching! And many thanks to CuriosityStream!


  1. Oh my gosh I got so excited I signed up before using your link! Thank you for sharing - I am looking forward to showing this to my children after school :)

    1. haha shoot! bummed you missed the free month but I hope you guys like it!!

  2. Definitely sending this to my sister and her three kiddos!

  3. I feel so bad that ours is currently much more than here and there aaaaaah. Snagged one of free trials, thank you so much!

    1. ha - okay well South Bend winters give you a big, fat FREE pass - I know it!

  4. Where is Julia's comforter from? So cute!

  5. I'm signed up and watching my first episode of Mind Blowing Breakthroughs with my 4yo now! This seems great but a bit over her head (we will get there maybe - she's used to Cat in the Hat and Peppa Pig). Are there other shows you'd recommend for the preschool age bracket? Maybe even younger than this one. I have a toddler too. I'm excited about the documentaries for me too!

  6. Julia looks so grown up! When did that happen?!

    I totally want to watch that Quarx show. I'm such a science geek.

  7. Ha my husband and I said the same thing and our 6 month old daughter already has watched tv. This looks great, especially that it works with Roku. Can't wait to share it with my sisters, I think their boys would love it too

  8. Thanks for sharing this great resource- it will save me from doing quick ninja maneuvers to close the computer when a random and violent ad shows up while my son is watching YouTube educational videos.

  9. We will check it out! The "no daytime screen time" has been especially painful for the kids #meanmom but maybe with the promise of new shows on the iPad it won't be so horrible. Plus I can only handle so much Princess Sophia 😉

  10. I'm veeerrryy interested in this! Esp since it works with Apple TV (which my mil generously gave us for Christmas)!

  11. I'm veeerrryyy interested in this! Esp since it works with Apple TV (which my mil generously gave us for Christmas)!

    Also, I had so.many.rules. about parenting/childraising *before* I had kids ... I'll have to really think about which ones have stuck!



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