Every generation is different. My generation was growing up skipping the elastic rope and playing on portable handheld Tetris joysticks. Today’s generation does different stuff: they ride balance wheels and play IPad. I think it is nice that they have different and wider choice of opportunities. They still play football, they still build Legos, they still play with dolls, but at the same time, they can do so many things that when we were kids we could not imagine these would exist in the nearest future. However, I feel that sometimes you need to limit even the most exciting and most intelligent playing experiences to have time for other discoveries as well, because childhood is all about different experiences and various discoveries, which give you a foundation for the future.
I believe, IPad cannot provide the full range of experiences our little ones need. It opens endless possibilities for them, but it cannot replace sensory experiences and physical play.
As thoughtful parents, we all struggle with how to find that good balance between screen time and traditional play time. It is so hard to know how much is enough and how much is too much. Every family has their own rules. I am sharing our family IPad rules for kids.
IPad Rules for Kids:
You get IPad for 1 hour on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays if (the weekend where we live now is Friday and Saturday):
- You have read for 30 minutes
We want our kids to read every day. 30 minutes is the expected reading time per day for their grade level.
- You have finished 1 IXL task
This is an online learning platform for math and language from kindergarten until the 12th grade provided by our school. School encourages to practice it, but it is not mandatory. Including this into IPad rules makes it an easy routine for them.
- You have written about your day
I ask them to write a short story of their day, their best friend, favorite book, funniest thing that has ever happened to them. This way they practice their hand writing and storytelling skills.
- You have checked your room to make sure it is clean (bed, clothes, toys)
This is the easiest way to make them tidy their room. They do it quickly in tandem together.
- You have finished your chores
Our kids have everyday chores, like make the bed, prepare the table for the dinner, brush teeth and similar. They need to do them before the IPad time.
- You have played, built, crafted or have done something else creative for at least 1 hour
I believe, it is not enough what child gets from school. They should draw, color, build and imagine at home as well, not only do homework and watch TV.
We started implementing these rules at the beginning of this school year. There was a lot of resistance during the first weekend. Kids were not happy to find out they need to earn IPad time. But when the second weekend came, they fulfilled all the requirements and were even proud of themselves.
I am very happy that these rules have been working well for our family so far. I hope they will set a good background and model self-control as well as proper timing of this powerful and so addictive device for the future use.