From challenging games to engaging stories, kids love spending time exploring apps on the iPad. It’s no wonder this and other tablet devices have become highly coveted household items – both parents and children alike can’t wait to fire one up and spend an afternoon watching movies, reading books and investigating new and exciting interactive experiences.
But what happens when your child’s love affair with technology turns into a full-fledged obsession? If you’ve found yourself prying the iPad from the hands of your preschooler on more than one occasion, it might be time to reconsider your child’s relationship with their tablet.
When it comes to technology in the home, it’s important that parents take the time to foster boundaries, implement rules and establish clear expectations. Here are some steps to take in order to mitigate an iPad meltdown and avoid future fits of frustration when it comes to the use of technology in your home.
Step 1: Be a Role Model
If you’re constantly fiddling with your iPhone or sending emails on your tablet, don’t be surprised if your child develops a similar attachment to technological devices. That being said, if you’re going to set out some house rules for iPad usage, make sure that everyone in the home abides by them – including you! Exhibiting restraint and self-discipline in front of your child is one of the best ways to reinforce a healthy relationship with tech.
Step 2: Time Your Child’s Usage
It’s a good idea to limit the amount of time your child spends playing with a tablet, as well as interacting with other electronic entertainment items within your home. The easiest way to institute this rule is to simply set a timer. Once the time is up and the alarm sounds, your child must give up the iPad – no ifs, ands or buts about it!
Step 3: Clearly Define Boundaries
Tablets open the door to an infinite number of digital experiences. As a parent, it is your responsibility to set the tone for the device’s use. Avoid using the iPad as a way to placate a fussy toddler. If you hand over the device every time your preschooler throws a fit, not only are you rewarding this bad behavior, you’re setting a dangerous precedent. Of course your child is going to act out more often if they know it will result in an hour of iPad play! Don’t use the device as a distraction or pseudo babysitter. Instead, try rewarding your child for good behavior with a shared iPad experience. Not only is this a great way to build healthy boundaries concerning the device, it’s also a fun way to spend more time reading and learning with your child.
Step 4: Monitor Your Child’s Apps
Make sure that your child only has access to age-appropriate apps by regularly monitoring his or her app use. If you find that a particular application is highly addictive or puts your child in a foul mood, remove it from your device or limit your child’s access to it.
Concerned that your child might be downloading apps to your iPad without your permission? Update your password restrictions to prevent unauthorized action in your iTunes Account.
Step 5: Show Some Tough Love
You are the parent, after all. If your child refuses to return the device, attempt to reason with them. Explain that, if they don’t comply with your request, there will repercussions. If they continue to resist, carefully remove the device from the child’s hands before reprimanding him or her accordingly.
Technology can be a great tool for children, however with advanced technology comes great responsibility. Help your child form healthy tech habits early by introducing them to Loud Crow’s growing collection of educational apps.