We told the kids a week or so ago that we would be taking the month off of iPads. This was prompted by a display of bad behavior from one kid in particular (ie, hitting / throwing things at others, not being able to call down or act like a normal person after a session of video games).
They were not thrilled, but thankfully seemed to take it as something non-negotiable.
During the pandemic, we got into the habit of letting them play for some time in the afternoon. “Some time” sometimes turned into 4 hours, which I know is . . . not great. (Genevieve never wanted to play that long, which is good. She’d typically drift off to play around the 1-2 hour mark. But neither A nor C even touched an iPad when they were her age!).
Their iPad time served us.
Which is okay.
And entirely reasonable.
I know the current parenting gospel is that nothing you do that makes your lives easier is really important or worth doing. We should be presenting kids with multiple educational and analog options, right? Science experiments or read-alouds or Pinteresty craft setups? OR galavanting through nature (never mind that currently it is inhospitable in the afternoons unless one in the pool — and that’s only possible ~50% of the time due to intermittent storms).
The kids are getting older, we could see the impact on behavior, the pandemic is (sort of) waning, and it was just time to change our habits.
No iPad on the weekends unless Josh is on call (and even then, will set timer of 2 hrs and stick to it) or we are on vacation
No iPad on the weekdays ever (unless vacation or there is a hurricane and we are truly stuck inside for hours) – this was thankfully always a rule
TV time in the evenings only after 30 minutes of reading and toys are cleared up. Subject to go off immediately if people are not being nice to each other
TV OFF by 7:45 pm
(My personal policy: aiming for under 100 minutes of phone screen time every day! This continues to be the magic number for me. EVERYTHING ELSE is better when I stick to this.)
We had a great weekend this past weekend. I don’t think it was a coincidence. It was somewhat more work for us but the behavior shift was worth it. I know some do not feel like screen negative impact their family lives, and that’s wonderful. But for us, screen overdose impacted behavior — 1 kid more than others, but definitely all 3 to some extent. And I’d rather them do other things. Obviously these policies are subject to change — when we have tweens/teens I’m sure another policy will be appropriate. But for now, this is what we are going with.
I tried eating with the kids a bit later, closing the kitchen, and a hard “go upstairs” stop @ 7:45. It was a relatively successful night, with little kids in bed @ 8:30 (Annabel was up playing with rainbow looms but she was contained/quiet so I was fine with that)! Will continue to report back.