Ah, parenting in the ‘digital age’.
If you’re anything like me, you have a strained relationship with your kids devices. Some days, they’re a saving grace that grant me an hour of alone time. On other days, they are right at the center of our household drama.
Learning how to manage screen time is a skill to be honed. I’ve learned from my mistakes so you don’t have to. Here are 4 of those mistakes, and how they’ve changed my approaches to digital parenting…
- Giving in to ‘Five More Minutes’
Giving in to ‘five more minutes’ of screen time is a very slippery slope. As soon as you let it happen once, your kids know it can happen again. You see, kids are all about boundaries. At a certain age, they like to test those boundaries to see how firm they really are… And if they realize they’re flexible, they will play into that.
As soon as I saw a habit develop in my kids to ask for ‘five more minutes’ of screen time, I decided to change my approach. Before letting the kids play on their tablets or devices, I set a realistic time frame for screen time (and that means for myself as well!), and I stick to it. No ifs, ands or buts. Once the time ends, it ends. I have a secret for this, but more about that in a bit…
- Assuming ‘Educational Apps’ Were Really Educational
Recently, I read a pretty jarring article explaining that educational apps aren’t so educational, after all. As of now, there are over 80,000 educational apps in the app store, and only a few of them are actually solid learning resources for kids (especially toddlers!).
Here I was, a naive parent letting my kids play on their tablets content in my assumption that at least they were learning something. Now, I know better. I do my research and read reviews. If it doesn’t make the cut, it’s not on the device.
- Letting My Kids Use Their Phone as an Alarm Clock
I didn’t really think twice about letting my son use his iPod touch as an alarm clock to wake up in the mornings. To be honest, I saw it as a sign of independence… Boy, was I kidding myself.
Not long after agreeing to let my son wake himself up in the morning did I realise that he was staying up late playing games and chatting on his device. He was cranky and tired, and for the first time I understood why. Now, no more devices in the bedroom after bedtime, period. If he wants to wake himself up, he uses an old-fashioned alarm clock… Otherwise, it’s me turning his lights on first thing in the morning!
- Not Using OurPact
OurPact is the ultimate secret to digital parenting.
Using OurPact, parents are able to remotely manage their kids devices. Need your kids to bunker down and finish a chore or do homework for an hour? Block their screens for an hour. Want to enjoy a family meal without instant messaging? You got it, block devices for as long as you need. It even lets you set up automated schedules that kick in without you having to lift a finger… Think bedtime, or school hours. And, to boot… No more five minute arguments! If you ask for devices to be put away and your kids don’t listen, all you have to do is touch a button.
It’s built for simplicity, and is 100% free. If your kids are mobile, this is the app for you.
What other tips do you have for managing screen time? Share below!