Much like the “Back to School Contract” that my friend Stefanie of Ooph.com has established with her teenage boys that spells out her expectations for their grades, chores, and over-all behavior during the school year, I think that kids should have a similar set of rules and expectations to accompany their technology devices.
Kids need guidelines and limitations and a clear understanding of the rules, so setting boundaries and rules when it comes to gaming devices is key, otherwise, they’ll whittle away on their devices all the live long day, and we know what the AAP says about that!
My kids received Kindle Fires from Santa and I have been trying to figure out just how to work a contract with them. Here are the categories that need to be addressed with your kiddos when it comes to their tech gadgets:
Since gadget time is considered screen time, this time needs have a clear limit during the week and the weekend. For our family, it’s 30 minutes of games during the week and an hour on the weekend, with unlimited minutes of reading. Luckily, I can set those parameters on their devices so I don’t have to police them myself, but if there is no parental control on their particular device then you’ll need to pay pretty close attention.
Hours of Operation:
Be sure to set particular times of day in which the devices may be used. In our house there is no Kindle time before school or after dinner, period. Also, no devices during meal times. On the weekend, I’m pretty flexible but they must ask permission first. Set these hours of operation and stay firm on them!
Don’t Forget Your Manners:
One of my biggest pet peeves is when I am trying to ask the kids a question and they refuse to look up from their devices, even though I know full well they are hearing me (though they probably feel the same way when I am texting and they are saying “mommy, mommy, mommy” over and over again). I
Make it very clear with your kids whether or not they are allowed to download apps, even if they are free. My kids know that an email is sent to me anytime anything is downloaded, so they know not to try to sneak any apps past me.
Don’t Dispute the Rules:
Once you’ve set the parameters, it is very important to stick to them. In our house, it’s well known that there will be no haggling or whining or complaining in regards to the device or its rules, otherwise, I take it away for a week. I know, sometimes that’s a harder punishment on me than it is on them, but I have to stick by it if I say it!
Of course there are some days that all of the rules and parameters are thrown out the window, but if you abide by these guidelines most of the time, life with devices might be more bearable.
We talked about this subject on our Fox 5 Ask the Moms segment this week and here is the clip. PLUS, info on how to deal with a jealous 5 year old and how to handle acne in tweens and teens.