“Dad, may I please use your iPad?” is a question I hear every day when my son enters our house after school. We have set up an informal rule in our house that you must give a decent recount of your day, with detail beyond “it was good,” if you want to have some time on the iPad. This works for us as parents because we hear a good deal of what the day was like for our kids, and it works for them because they ultimately get to have some fun with the iPad.
One thing that my wife and I did early on was set a 15 minute time limit when it comes to the iPad. We know that our son would play on the iPad as long as he could get away with, so we made sure not to exceed the 15 minute mark for the day. There is nothing scientific about the time, but it does give my wife and me enough time to catch up on each other’s day.
Believe it or not but our microwave plays a huge part in this process. It is the great time keeper. Once the beeps go off Joe knows that his time is up. Granted, this did not happen over night. We worked hard at preventing pouting or crying when the great time keeper (the microwave) beeped. If he would cry or pout, we set a hard line and told him that he would not be able to use the iPad the next day. The way I look at it is simple…short term pain (crying and pouting) for long term gain (now the great time keeper goes off and the iPad is put away easily).
So, one of the rules that has helped us in our house is keeping consistent with time limits as it relates to technology. By setting this rule, our daughter now knows how long she can play on a device as well. With her we were able to bypass the difficulty in surrendering the technology simply because the expectation had been set.