Parental Guidance Required

Are you a parent? Step-parent? Grandparent? Teacher? Person with just lots of opinions that likes to give advice? Then this is the post for you! 

As most of you know, I’m a nanny. This is my first nanny gig and let me tell you, I love it 98% of the time (ok some weeks it drops down to like 45% but it all balances out). I am technically a licensed elementary teacher, although my dues are outstanding so I can’t teach in Ontario until I re-up those, but I hated teaching. It destroyed me emotionally and mentally (and I didn’t even make it to an LTO contract). My nanny job is the perfect job for me.

Technically I have 4 kids. They are referred to here as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Current ages are 12, 11, 10, 7. They are great kids – polite, well-behaved (most of the time), fun to be around. 2nd is reading my all-time favourite book right now (Ella Enchanted) from my recommendation and she is loving it. I am so happy!

I’m also kind of the nanny to nine homestay students from Japan and China – basically, I just check in with them on homework stuff and offer help when needed. I was an English teacher in South Korea for two years so my skills are at a prime in this job. These nine students range from 15-18.

If you’re counting I went from no children on November 25th, 2016 and now I have thirteen. B-A-N-A-N-A-S

But what I’m having issues with is follow through and discipline. I have to admit, I was better at this as a supply teacher. Spending only one day in a class (the most was 4 consecutive days) makes it easy for follow through. But as a nanny, I’m kind of sucking. Discipline rules aren’t really set up and it’s a “go with the flow” type of deal, and I mostly revert all discipline to the parents – that’s not really my job.

Last week we had a technology issue. After a very emotional karate class, we were all in the van driving home. It was fine until 2nd realised that 4th was playing a game she had downloaded for herself on my old phone (without asking) and then there was yelling, tears, grabbing, my new phone gets thrown down onto a hard surface AND I’m trying to drive a mini-van in rush-hour Toronto traffic. Yeah – fun times.

When we got back to the house, I told the kids that we would be taking a break from my technology for a while. I didn’t say how long, just a break. They aren’t allowed to download things without asking and any games on the devices are there for everyone.

It’s been a full week now of no “T technology” at the house for them to use and 3rd is getting a little annoyed. But he also is giving me lots of attitude every single day over everything. Homework, dinner, bathtime, answering simple questions like if he had a good day at school. Sure he’s tired but it’s a little much. So I’ve just been keeping the technology at home. He says he’s bored but he doesn’t do anything else if he has put his mind to playing on the Ipad.

They all know that when I bring the Ipad and phone back there will be a discussion about the expectations around the use of the technology – hopefully so that this sort of breakdown doesn’t happen again.

Ok so everyone is caught up, and here are my problems:

  1. How long is long enough to keep the technology out of the house but still make my point? When 3rd asked me last night, I said I don’t know because I keep having hard times with them. He whined and stomped back into the house ranting about how long it’s been (he does that when he’s tired: just rants in circles for about 20 minutes)
  2. Do I change up the rules and download the games 2nd had downloaded (she forced 4th to delete them because by playing, 4th “ruined everything”) and make a file or page just for her that “no one else can play”? I want the devices to have games that each child will enjoy but I can’t have fights.
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42 thoughts on “Parental Guidance Required

  1. So…as far as the ‘fairness’ and even this, even that, there will never be a solution that makes everyone (anyone) happy. BUT…just my opinion of course, that total obliteration of tech time may not be the way. To start, sure. But in essence after time thats only feeding the frenzy and turning that screen into the holy grail to be worshipped deeper once they get it back!. Its like changing up a lifestyle then saying…nevermind. Lets go back to our old ways. I dont know what devices there are or how many or who desires what for how long but…after an initial “you’ve been a jerk so you lose your tablet for two nights (paraphrasing of course)”, I always set time limits for her. And she budgets them how she wants. And unfortunately no matter what you do, everyone has to have the same rules.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The kids have unlimited access to their own technology. Or for the most part. TV’s are always on, x-box and the like. Their dad has started to take the cord for the laptop which does cause some problems for homework but we are working around that. I think I’m going to wait until Saturday to bring back my items. Time limits are given at the house but never followed. With my two items though it they seem to be more respectful. It’s just the game thing. I think I will stick with the “all games are for everyone” rule. 2nd will probably be upset but I think it’s fair that way.

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  2. I think that our kids are using too much technology! I would limit just for the sake of limiting so they can do ANYTHING but sit with screens in their face (I am really one to talk, though…). As a teacher, I am seeing a decline in creativity and imagination. Also, patience and perseverance are not there, because our children are growing up in a world where what they want is at their fingertips, every second of the day.

    Follow through is huge. If you threaten something, you have to follow through with it, or they will, very quickly, be walking all over you! I would set a time limit on consequences, such as “no technology for two days” or “30 minutes of technology and then GO PLAY OUTSIDE”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Personally I would start using the technology as a reward. I am all about bribery when it comes to getting kids to do the right thing!!
    They are probably a little old for star charts but something along the lines a points system where points can be deducted and given. They can then exchange points for use of technology as well as downloading new games, programs etc… Bit like a bartering system

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    • They’ve tried that but it doesn’t work with the kids. The kids always ask before using my stuff so they have to finish homework first but that only applies to my stuff. Sometimes its homework and their evening routine depending on what time it is.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sooo, they don’t have their own devices? They’re arguing about using YOUR device? I say one person per day and no one on Fridays, as far as the rule goes, and no playing someone else’s game, at all because um, respect. Also, it might be a pain, but you can always just disable certain apps. Okay. That’s all I got lol good luck!

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    • 2nd has a tablets which has all the games she likes to play, but it’s not holding a charge or something so she can’t use it. I talked to the mom today and I’ll bring the devices back on Monday. But I have decided that all the games need to be for everyone to play. The only one who will be upset is going to be 2nd – she doesn’t want anyone to even use Faceswap since she “downloaded it just for me to use”. Um no lol. I’ve disabled a lot of apps – you’re right it is a pain but it does work! Especially on my old phone. I disabled all the ones that they would have no need to use. It’s basically just a mini-tablet now.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the separate folders idea. Then no one’s game gets messed up.

    As for discipline, make it off limits the minute someone starts acting up and just take it away for the night and “try again tomorrow,” but give the other kids their turns if they were being good (no resentment that way). Eventually they’ll realize that you mean business and that if they want to use your devices then they’ll behave. Also, make sure they have the same amount of time each to play so there are no issues there. Have rotating schedules on who gets to play on it first, etc.

    And just my two pence about technology… it’s the way the world operates now, so best not fight it. Even our first graders here do their school work on Chrome books, so the earlier the kids learn, the better off they are. Oh my… I could write a very controversial post about technology, but I’m not sure I’m up for the fight, hahaha.

    Good luck with your kiddos! Just be consistent in your discipline and fair to the others, and they’ll get it eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like the idea of the individual folders as well but it would be hard to police and if two of them want to play the same game, I can’t download it twice. Logistics man!! lol the game doesn’t get messed up per-say…just some things change after a few levels and one doesn’t want the other choosing what gets changed.

      I know the world revolves around technology but sometimes I wish these kids would have less of it at home haha. But they need it for homework all the time! I can’t even imagine someone who doesn’t have a computer at home. Tonight, 1st didn’t do her homework at all because the power cord for the laptop was gone, she literally couldn’t do it. Which sucks because she’s going to get in trouble if it’s not done. But she also needs to learn to prioritize her computer time (hence the cord being gone).

      Thanks for your advice Paula!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ohh, see, you offer very good insight on both! And yes, technology requires power so you’re up a creek without it. AJ is having to do math homework on actual worksheets this year, and you know what? He’s doing a great job because he has to show his work! Technology in school goes too far and I don’t think the kids get the full benefits that we did because of it… they can’t even write anymore because they always use a keyboard.

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        • Yeah there definitely needs to be a balance, but also I like that the kids are learning how to use technology as a tool (not just a toy hehe) and how to be safe with it. I guess it’s a catch 22? Am I getting that reference right? lol My kidlets have a lot of offline homework, but sometimes they need the computer and having the cord taken away just causes a huge fuss. And it’s always hidden by the dad who isn’t home until after bedtime so there’s no chance. I took 1st to the library the other day to do her homework but the headphones there didn’t work and she couldn’t download the program she needed because it’s the library’s computer not her own personal one. It was really frustrating.

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    • Oh man I have tried!! But once they get into the “I want your tablet and only your tablet” nothing else matters. And board games are THE BEST! I have told them not to play monopoly with me but any other game I’m up for. 3rd and I used to play checkers a lot, he always beats me and he loves it. Then we had a scrabble phase. But sadly…no more….

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      • Ahhh that’s too bad! Darn kids these days lol. I used to work at a camp and I told one mother that her son wasn’t allowed technology at camp (he had brought a Playstation Portable or something.) Her reply to me was “Oh? He’s not even allowed to play with it during snack time when you’re doing nothing? What if he doesn’t want to participate in an activity?” I couldn’t believe it.
        So my heart goes out to you. Keep fighting the good fight!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh yeah same here! I was a councellor at a summer camp every summer – just a week-long sleep away camp and no technology was allowed. By the time I was ending my run with them (2002-2010) it was almost impossible to get the parents to comply with it.

          Thanks for the moral support! I’ll take it and add it to the pile for while I bring the devices back on Monday and have to set out the new rules and guidelines

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Maybe bring the technology back slowly. A mid week technology day. You definitely have your hands full here. Finding a happy medium for the kids and yourself should help create a sense of balance and leniency. Hope this helps!

    Liked by 1 person

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