I’ve let Little H use a tablet and my smartphone from a fairly young age, and have always thought it’s a good thing learning to use technology so young. One of my first blog posts was Why I don’t feel guilty about my child using smartphones and tablets and I really didn’t feel bad about it.
I still don’t feel guilty about it, but lately she’s getting a bit addicted to her tablet and we need to make an effort to get her away from it. It’s the first thing she grabs in the morning, and as soon as she walks through the door after school. I have to prise it out of her little mitts so she doesn’t use it 24/7.
As it’s the start of the month I thought that I’d see how we get on with breaking the screen addiction by the end of April! Am I crazy?!
I still think some screen time is good, Little H plays some educational games and the other day I found her watching a science video. I’d just like her to play with her toys more, watch less YouTube, and not go to her tablet the second she walks through the door.
Anyway, here’s the plan to break the screen addiction…
Set Time Limits
Little H got a kids’ Fire tablet for Christmas which we wanted because it has a lot of parental controls on it compared to the standard tablets. I’ve set a limit of 2 hours per day and it can only be used between 6am -7pm. The morning time limit was set a while ago to stop her getting up at 5am and asking to use it!
I’m going to have to be strict about the time limits and not just give in and extend them when she runs out of time. She uses it for an hour in the morning while we get ready for work, so that leaves her with an hour to use it after school or before bed. I think it’s going to take a while for her to understand that once the time is up then that’s it until tomorrow!
Plan other activities
It’s easy for me to let her use her tablet for a while after school as it allows me to get jobs done such as housework. I’m at work all day until I collect her from school so there’s not much time to get everything done. Housework and other chores might have to be neglected for a while so I can encourage Little H to do other activities. If it’s nice after school we go to the park anyway, it’s just the cold, rainy days that we need to find things to do. She has gymnastics one night, after school club another night, and swimming another night. So it’s actually only 2 days a week that we have to worry about.
I’m going to be organised and think of some ideas in advance. So far I’m thinking of crafts, playdoh, jigsaw puzzles, lego, colouring – all things I know she will sit and do for a while even if I don’t really like them all!
I know not everyone agrees with reward charts but they have always worked for us in the past. I might re-introduce a reward chart so that Little H only gets to use her tablet as a reward for good behaviour.
She’s not a naughty kid, but it’s a struggle to get her to listen to instructions like most kids her age. It’s also difficult to get her to eat her dinner and get dressed by herself. I read a suggestion of giving the child “3 strikes” each day – they get a strike if they don’t do something, 3 strikes and no screen time.
I’m not sure I’ll go with this right away, but will keep it as an idea in case the other options don’t work!
I’ll update you at the end of the month to let you know how it’s gone – and if I have any hair left!
Have you got little technology addicts in your house? If so, how to do you deal with it?