So my husband has an iPad and during the past week, I have noticed that my 4 (nearly 5) year old son Jack is absolutely obsessed! Over the weekend, I found myself constantly asking him to stop playing on the iPad, turn the volume down, that’s enough now Jack, come and sit with the family. Yet another thing in today’s modern world that we have to regulate carefully for our little ones, (sigh)! Last night, upon taking the iPad from him (after asking him to put it down numerous times) he threw a little tantrum. When he’d calm down, I took him to a quiet spot and said I needed to talk to him about something important.
Jack: Yes Mum?
Mum: Jack, you know that too much TV is bad for you.
Jack: Yes Mum. (This is an issue discussed often at home and at school.)
Mum: Well, the iPad is also like a little TV and too much of it is also bad for you. Do you understand that?
Jack: Yes Mum.
Mum: And my boy… you are playing too much iPad and it’s bad for you.
Mum: But it’s OK because I am going to help you not play too much iPad, OK?
Mum: I am going to make two rules. The first rule is that you will only be able to play on the iPad for a bit and when I say your time is up then you must give it back. OK?
Mum: The second rule is that you have to ask me or Dad if you want to play first. Sometimes we will say “yes” and sometimes we will say “no”, but Jack, I am only saying”no” because I can’t always say “yes”. If I always said “yes’ then I wouldn’t be helping you would I?
Mum: Do we have a deal?
Jack: Mum, can I play on the iPad now.
Mum: No my boy, not now.
The first point of this conversation was to help Jack understand that, as cool as the iPad is, too much is not good for him. The second point is to turn a negative, “No, you cannot play on the iPad now,” into a positive, ” I am helping you not play too much iPad.”
So far, it is working a treat!
What did I learn from this?
Sometimes, it’s so much easier to just tell them the real reason why you are doing something in a way they can understand rather than making up a hypothetical story that is a nightmare to keep up with.