Streaming movies for kids: where is it appropriate to distract children with electronics?

“For the love of God!” I shrieked as my husband zoomed into the far-lefthand lane. “Where's the iPad?” Up to this point, Nate and I have maintained a pretty strict “no on-the-go electronics” rule. Some Boy doesn't have a LeapFrog or LeapPad or whatever toddlers play with nowadays, but he's becoming increasingly interested in my tablet. He's officially past the age of 2, and that means he wants to be entertained ALL THE TIME and he can actually EXPRESS his boredom and annoyance. Quite loudly, in fact, and that's what led to this epic highway tantrum session. After three hours in the car, he and I had both had it. I caved, set him up with some “Jake and the Neverland Pirates,” and enjoyed a peaceful ride.

It was awesome. I didn't feel guilty at all. And just like that, our perspective on streaming movies for kids changed from “only at home during afternoon wind-down time” to “whenever we need to chill out a little.”

When it's Appropriate to Play Streaming Movies for Kids

The Doctor's Office
This place is already torturous enough. Why not let Spongebob get your kid's mind off of those shots and scary things?

a distraction would be nice right about now

Grocery Store Checkout
There's no use crying over spilled milk, and no need for you to scramble trying to pick up after your child's path of destruction in the grocery checkout line.

When You Need to make an Important Call
It happens to the best of us. Life is going along perfectly smoothly, and then your boss/minister/mother-in-law calls and the little ones decide to lose their dang minds. The solution? Streaming movies for kids.

Camping
I'm certainly not advocating that you drag along the big screen to stay abreast on the latest sports activity, but the great outdoors can be a scary place for kids and it may help to bring along a little of your routine in portable form. If your family often sits together and watches a show at night, it's a good idea to have the tablet on-hand to break out that familiar routine after darkness settles in. We personally like to cuddle up with family-friendly curated content from our sponsor, Netflix.

Long Car Trips
Sure, you want them to see the world. But when a large chunk of that world is desert, the scenery just won't cut it. Ease the journey to the Grand Canyon or Yosemite National Park with a little entertainment along the way.

At the Bank
Thousands of dollars are being transacted. There's a metal detector at the door, and you're talking to a teller through double-paned glass. If you have to bring your kid along, give everyone's nerves a break by offering a distraction until business is done.

While streaming movies for kids definitely have their place, there are limitations to when our tablets and phones are used. They're not allowed at school, at the mall, at the dinner table, in church, or when we're visiting friends and family. If there is something valuable to be gained from paying attention to the activity going on around them, our kids are not allowed to miss it. However, during the mundane or tedious times in public (you know, the ones where most adults flip open a magazine or check emails on our phone), I see nothing wrong with streaming movies for kids. And we have a ton of fun making movie night an event at home as well, encouraging them to develop a love of film culture!

What do you think? Do you ever distract your children with electronics?