I’m sure it’s to no surprise when I say that the kidlets I nanny spend way too much time on technology.
Usually, when they are zoned into a tv show or a computer game, you literally can’t even get a response from them. Sometimes, they will be so focused into it that basic human needs, such as going to the bathroom, get ignored. Or if the dogs are at the sliding glass doors literally right beside them barking to get let in/out and the kids literally can’t even hear them.
Does this happen to your kids/kids that you know too? Even the toddler I cared for over the summer was like this. But he was only allowed 30 minutes per day. No exceptions (unless he was sick and then we snuggled and watched a few episodes of Dora and Paw Patrol together). He turned into a little monster with more than 30 minutes.
As a reward for good behaviour, up until Christmas, I would bring some of my old devices for them for the weekend. Sure my iPad is almost 6 years old and is slaggy and glitchy, but if you tell a 10-year-old that they’re not allowed to use it for the weekend because they’ve messed up in a huge way, then it’s a huge disappointment. The kids could always earn their time back once it was taken away and usually did, but it was my one bit of discipline that I was completely in control over.
This Christmas, the kids were gifted a lot of technology devices so I’ve basically stopped bringing my own now. Although, they do still have one of the devices because the dad took it away and hid it and now we can’t find it…
It’s been a struggle to find that perfect technology/non-technology balance in the house. More so since Christmas than ever before. I started a little routine where the kids could have their free time after school until 6. Then if they were hungry, dinner until 6:30 (watching tv while they eat) and then no technology until 7:30. This was nice because it let me get work done while they were occupied and then I usually was able to spend that hour break with them doing something before I had to get back to other things. During that hour homework had to be completed and showers needed to be finished. Giving them from 7:30-8:45 for more technology. Which is a lot, I know. But that was the best schedule I could come up with that worked with my authority. Also, it just so happened that most of the 6:30-7:30 was spent playing games and not doing homework or showers so their non-technology time extended until those things were finished. Some nights they didn’t even get back on technology before bed.
But then the parents were noticing it was a lot of technology. And it was. So last weekend they all sat down as a family and decided on a new plan. I can try to implement my own plans but if it doesn’t come from the parents then the children don’t follow it. Honestly, even when it does come from the parents they might not follow it.
The new plan: only one hour of technology after school every day. THAT’S IT! You get one hour. The first two days were a mess of “how much time do I have left?” “can you tell me when it’s been 20 minutes?” “no T! We’ve only watched two youtube videos, each one was only 4 minutes so that’s 8 minutes! Not 20!” because apparently replaying parts of the video and searching through youtube and switching videos multiple times doesn’t count. Just so ya know, it counts. Geeze these kids…
But then Wednesday happened. Wednesday, when the youngest two went to bed, one had 40 minutes of time left and the other had 50. Leftover time!!! Thursday, no technology was had until 8:30 at night. And those two both said “I kind of like it without technology”
The weekend had no rules. I asked for guidelines for Saturday but didn’t get a specific answer. Just that it didn’t need to be so strict since it was the weekend. And honestly, I think that’s a great balance.
I’m anxious to see what the next week will bring, but I hope only more positive results!
How do you deal with technology in your own lives? I know I can be GLUED to my phone and am working at detaching a little bit.
Do you have kids? If so, what rules do you set up for them and technology? What works for your family? What doesn’t?