Tablet and iPad usage has been a growing concern for me as the kids get older. They are almost 5 and 3 now and sometimes whine and beg for tablet time. Currently their usage is limited to weekends only, but I’m finding that come the weekend it’s all they want to do. I’m not completely against tablet time, except when it’s primarily used for mindless activities like superhero shows or “super cool videos” AKA YouTube Kids. I scoured the mom groups and came up with some pretty great ideas on how to set tablet usage limits… just in time for the summer!
Earn Money for Time
One mom had a brilliant idea of buying play money on Amazon (like this here) and having her kids earn the money by completing household chores in exchange for tablet usage. This was also the way she potty trained her toddler. For using the potty, the child received $1 which equaled 5 minutes of usage. Putting clothes away, helping take out the trash, etc. would be $5 and 30 minutes. Money is kept in an envelope and used to pay for the time.
Set a Timer
Ask Siri/Alexa/Google to set a timer for 30 minutes right on the tablet. Some apps may even have an internal timer in the settings that will close the app after the designated length of time. Once the timer goes off, the child will need to put the tablet away.
The kids are using their iPad on a PawdPet. PawdPet is available for tablets and smartphones and feature several different cuddly and lovable stuffed animals! The stuffed animal’s magnetic belly will hold the tablet hands-free for your little one and keep it safe in the back pocket. Learn more about PawdPet features on their website.
This might be my all-time favorite method. Ha! Happiness is Homemade has a great printable chore list to earn screen time for the kids. Screen time would be earned in 15 minute increments by performing chores from the list. There’s also a second mandatory category on the list that gets them up and moving and thinking. For example, they need to participate in at least one activity such as reading for 30 minutes, play a board game, or do a creative project in order to earn 15 minutes on the tablet.
KIDOZ is a content discovery app and platform for kids. They can play games, watch videos, etc without stumbling upon inappropriate content. My kids love YouTube Kids and even though I set age restrictions and parental controls, I worry that they’ll come across something that isn’t appropriate for them. The best part about this app though is that you can set the length of use or a specific time for it to shut off. For example, the app will time out at 6pm every day or after 2 hours of usage.
Screentime is the all-purpose parental control app for tablets and smartphones! I love the functions of this app. You can set time limits, create tasks with additional screen time as the reward, block certain times of day like bedtime or homework time, and the best one – Instant Pause! Let’s all pause for a minute over this feature. You can instantly pause your child’s device when you want them to stop for dinner or get out the door. You can also keep tabs on the sites they’re visiting and which apps they use the most.
Tablet and screen time can be educational and fun! As parents, though, it’s our job to set limits and control the content our kids are seeing.
I’d love to hear of other ways you control electronic usage in your home! Leave a comment below! ♥