Our family is pretty connected to technology. My kids have grown up with access to smartphones and iPads. They are great to help them learn new things. And they make long car rides so much better. But it’s easy for our kids to get too much screentime.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics here are the recommended amount of time that your child should spend on electric devices:
- Children 18 months and younger: you should avoid the use of an electronic device other than video-chatting.
- Children ages 18 to 24 months of age: you can introduce them to digital media but make sure you choose high-quality programming and watch it with your children to help them understand what they are seeing.
- Children ages 2 to 5 years: limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
- Children ages 6 and older: give them consistent limits on the time spent using electronic devices. Do not let it take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.
It can be difficult to control your child’s screen time. Sometimes, screen time can be educational for children as well as support their social development.
10 Tips for Healthy iPad Use for Kids
Designate media-free times together
In our house, we have screen-free time. We never have our phones out at dinner. Some families may also say no screen-time in the bedrooms or after a certain hour of the day. Some weeks we will even have a movie night and no phones are allowed in the room!
It’s important to designate some time as screen-free time to set some boundaries. See what works best for your family!
Be clear regarding expectations and consequences
The internet is full of amazing things! My kids have taught themselves to play an instrument and digital animation. But there are many things that can be harmful online.
For example, our 6th-grade son wanted Instagram but we are making him wait a little longer. We can make his account private but strangers can still send him direct messages – and that’s scary.
They know what apps and websites they are allowed to visit. And there are severe consequences if they are caught breaking our rules.
They also know that we can and will look at their phones any time we want. I also read their text messages because I want to make sure they are not being rude, bullying or sending anything they shouldn’t be sending. I also want to make sure they are not receiving any of these kinds of messages.
When you set rules – enforce them. You are the parent and it’s your job to teach them right from wrong and point out their mistakes in a loving way. Sometimes they don’t realize what they are doing may be wrong.
Also be consistent about the time limits and boundaries you set. Technology can be an addiction. It also takes away from meaningful conversations you can have with your kids.
Always charge the devices in a common space
We do this so that our kids are not distracted before bedtime and feel like they need to answer a text. Or sometimes they can’t sleep so they grab their phone and spend 2 hours watching YouTube and don’t get a good night’s sleep.
We also do this so we can check their devices as needed to monitor their usage and see the things they are viewing.
Turn off screens at least 1 hour before bed
This is even a great rule for adults! The light that is produced from an iPad can disrupt the circadian rhythms and inhibit good sleep.
Create a bed-time routine centered around relaxation and connection. Use this time to connect with your kids and talk about their day. Spend time cuddling and read a book together.
Choose apps that are educational and fun
I love the opportunities that my kids have from all the things they can learn on their iPad. As I have already mentioned they have learned how to play instruments and create digital animation with a drawing tablet.
My husband and 2 sons use the language learning app together to learn languages and we can also use the Bible app to do bible studies together and have common subjects to talk about.
My kids can study for quizzes on apps from school. When they were younger they would play with apps that helped them learn math and how to spell.
Yes, they are going to want to watch YouTube and play non-educational apps but make sure they are available and play them with your kids.
Model Healthy Use Of Electronic Devices in Front Of Your Kids
I know parents this is hard! Since I work from home I am always on a device. I feel like I need to answer emails and text messages as soon as I get them. But it’s important for your kids to see that there is a time for devices and a time for family time.
Have a screen-free day
This may not be possible for everyone but if your kids are younger – pick one day a week that you hide all your devices in a box. Let your kids play with Legos, read books, play outside and more. Give them a full day to be creative without a device.
Keeping your child safe – with apps or other ways to monitor your child device
There are so many great ways to monitor your kid’s devices to make sure they are protected while they are online. You can purchase something like Disney Circle that has preset times on your kid’s devices so that they know their limits.
OurPack lets you block messaging, apps, internet access, and to schedule screen time. You can also track your child, set up geofences to get real-time alerts if they go somewhere they are not allowed to be, and receive alerts when they install new apps
Do a search to see what apps will work best for your family.
Educate yourself and your kids
Please don’t just react to things you see shared on Facebook about a viral post about something online. Do your research and really get to know and understand the apps your kids are using.
Some apps have great settings for kids and others are just not made for kids.
I have a pretty good plan to keep my kids safe online and I hope these tips can help you. You should also know that we have an amazing case that also protects our iPad. It’s affordable and practically indestructible!
Protect Your iPad with a Rug-Ed iPad Case
We have talked a lot about healthy iPad use for kids – but it’s also important for you to protect your iPad. We have been using a Rug-Ed! case for several months and it has protected our iPad from breaking. My kids tend to drop the iPad and this case is very dependable!
I don’t have to worry about them denting the iPad or cracking the screen. Plus it’s tamper-resistant! There is no way your kids can remove this case without your help!
Before we had a Rug-Ed ProLOCK case, someone stepped on the iPad and cracked the screen. Yes, we did get it fixed – but the sensor on the iPad screen was never really the same. Once it breaks – you have to consider getting a new iPad.
I love that with the Rug-Ed case we can bring it anywhere and I don’t have to worry about it being damaged. It’s great for younger kids – especially when you need to go grocery shopping and they can play an educational game in the cart while you shop. This way they aren’t asking for every item on the shelf and running up your grocery bill.
Why you will love this Rug-Ed case:
- It’s not bulky!
- It’s affordable!
- It has a handle!
- It has protection for the screen with tempered glass!
- It has a stand!
- It really protects your iPad!!
It’s a great investment for us! If you use my coupon code Dinero10 you will save 10% on the purchase of your Rug-Ed case.
The Rug-Ed ProLock Compatible Devices:
- ProLOCK 10: iPad 7th Gen (2019), iPad Air 3 (2019), iPad Pro (2017)
- ProLOCK 9.7: iPad Air / Air 2 / Pro 9.7 / iPad 9.7 (2017) / 5th Gen (2017) / 6th Gen (2018)
- ProLOCK Mini: iPad Mini 4 & Mini 5