Both of my kids have iPads and I don’t apologize for it. I’ve come to the conclusion that learning to use today’s tech is important for little ones. Thinking of little ones engaging with screens doesn’t have to leave a sour taste in your mouth. In our house, we have 4 Rules for Kids and Technology that we think are most important in terms of parental involvement and boundaries.
1. Screen time never outweighs other activities
These activities might be reading, imaginary play, tactile activities, active time out of the house, helping mom, etc). Of course, there are exceptions to this, like if I am sick. I spent a lot of the first and second trimester with various sicknesses, and I’m so glad we had the iPad to help Stella stay busy and entertained.
2. The content our children are viewing is monitored and okay-ed by us as parents
We have allowed Stella to watch something, only to change our minds down the line if the characters have a bad attitude, or if the storyline is questionable. There is some crazy stuff in children’s television and on Kids YouTube. As a general rule, we think that anything by PBS Kids is great. But I never understood why parents who hate Caillou so much still allow their child to watch it. It’s our job to set boundaries as we deem them appropriate.
3. Content must be educational on some level
Perhaps the content helps to develop literacy skills, mathematics, everyday life skills, fine motor skills, problem solving, or the like, or maybe it models children how to have healthy relationships with other children and adults.
4. Technology never takes the place of social interaction.
We also reserve the right to change the rules at any time. We know that as our kids grow, we will have different ideas, expectations, and boundaries.
With all those boxes checked, we let our girls enjoy the iPad and apps (although Iris is really too young to do anything, she just watches Daniel Tiger). I really do think it’s good for Stella in particular, and not just for her development of crucial skills. I know that sometimes after a long day, she enjoys just chilling out playing her games for a while, and I rest assured that as she relaxes, she is also learning.
Do you have rules for your kids regarding technology? What kind of screen time boundaries do you set in place for your little ones?