The Pros and Cons of The Video Monitor
Most parents have at least one to two video monitors in their baby’s nursery. Most have one above the crib. Some have one above the bed one across the room. Video monitors are an amazing way to see your baby in order to make sure they are safe. However, they can also be a blessing and can also be a curse.
These days you can not only watch your child in their crib, but you can watch them through your phone 24/7. You can spend your workday viewing your child and monitoring your nanny. You can rewind the video monitor and see precisely when your child was awake and when he was asleep. You can track your baby's heart rate, the temperature in the nursery, and a child's sleep patterns. You can even speak to your child through the monitor when you are nowhere in sight, which can completely freak a kid out or perpetuate unwanted behavior because they are aware they have an attentive audience around the clock. Acting out is way more fun in front of your parents than being alone.
A video monitor can be very helpful, especially in my work. I advise you to set up a video monitor. I think they are an incredible tool. They are also very helpful while sleep training. It can give you pertinent information to see what your child is up to and what they may need. You may see that your kid is chucking all the pacifiers out of her crib or reaching deep down into the diaper, which can be a traumatizing event for anyone. You can see if your child is starting to lift their leg to climb out of the crib. You can "see & save" if they have an arm or leg that snuck out through the slats. You can see if your four-year-old has crept into her closet at 2:00 AM and gladly put on every pair of underwear and tutus that she owns.
You can also see if your child is attaching to a lovey. You can view your beautifully sleeping child, and that is a beautiful sight to see. Using a video monitor in a way that is beneficial and helps a parent, parent, is a positive use of technology.
However, if looking at the monitor has become an obsession for you, that obsession may need to be addressed.
I have worked with many families who take a look and see that their child is in a position that they feel is not comfortable for their child. Being stuck in a corner or falling asleep sitting up, are positions that are not great, and it may be useful to lend a helping hand and reposition. But if your child is in a sleeping position that they like and they are safe, perhaps let them be?
Your child needs to figure out who they are, what position they love to sleep in, and what makes them happy and comfortable. What you like for yourself may not be your child's comfy place.
The video monitor is not the issue. The issue is a parent's behavior and habits with their monitor. If you are at work and you are texting your nanny every five minutes that she is doing everything wrong, then you either need to get a new nanny or find another solution. A video monitor can allow you to see what is going on, and that is great. You can guide your caregiver to make sure they are not rocking your baby to sleep when you have asked them to put your child in his crib awake. There is a difference between monitoring a situation and obsessing over it. There needs to be a level of trust at some point, or what is the point?
A video monitor should give you peace of mind, not make you loose-your-mind.
If you have given up your social life to stay home, drink a bottle of wine, and watch the video monitor, it is a good indication that you need to address your anxiety and get clear about your fears. We want new technology to be tools that help us and not harm us. A video monitor, while very helpful, can also create a level of over-parenting.
Children need space to figure things out. When a parent can see every movement, hear every little snort and fart, they tend to forget how important a parenting pause can be. Instead of pausing for a moment, they race into their child's room to solve an issue that they may not have needed to solve. Instead of your baby learning to self-soothe, your baby will learn that they need you to go back to sleep, and can this can become a habit. Well-intentioned parents can end up creating sleep issues where none existed. Not to mention that staring at a monitor while your child is capable of peacefully sleeping through the night is a sure-fire way to ruin your own sleep!
Be mindful. Do not pause if your child needs help. Do pause if you think the situation deserves a pause as it can be a potential learning moment for your child. Use a video monitor to help you and your child. If you feel a bit obsessed, it is time to take a look at your why. Try to get on the same page as your partner and compromise. Perhaps moving from three video monitors to one would be a happy place to land.