Thursday, February 9, 2012

Kids and Gadgets

Our house has been a rather gadget free realm.  Our gadgets consist of my MacBook Pro, Matt's small crappy netbook, an ipod that is six or 7 years old, and a first generation iPad.

We have no cell phones, no video game consoles, and no satellite tv.

Matt is a full on hater of any video gaming system like Wii or Playstation and has said we will never own one.  Cell phones just have no use in our life right now since service is still patching between here and Whitehorse and they are so expensive.  Matt doesn't watch much tv, we buy movies for the kids, and I watch the shows I want over the internet. 

But the iPad....  I was thinking of buying something like a leapster a year ago but got a great deal on a used iPad.  Hunter was the only one who used it and I have it full of little educational games plus a few extras like angry birds and some train games.  The rules for Hunter were pretty simple: he could play when Cavan was napping in the afternoon. 

But recently, Cavan has stopped napping and he has discovered the fun that is the iPad.  For a while I searched online to find a second one so they could both play, but boy they are pricey!  I came to the conclusion that this could be a good way for them to work on sharing, helping and patience.  A couple of weeks ago I set up the new house rules on the ipad.  They can play once they are both done their breakfast and are dressed.  I have a timer that gets set on my computer for five minute chunks of time.  When the five minutes are up, my computer howls like a wolf and the boys have to switch.  They are allowed to play until we have to take Hunter to school, so they usually get between 3 and 5 turns each.

The new system is working quite well.  Hunter is being a helping big brother and teaching Cavan how to play some of the more complicated games.  Cavan is improving on being able to share.  From time to time he has to spend Hunter's turn in his room so Hunter can play in peace.  That usually only lasts five minutes and then he is fine to sit quietly during Hunter's turn.  And by limiting the iPad to only that chunk of time in the morning, they are not asking to play the it during the rest of the day.

I wonder what our house will look like ten years from now.  How many gadgets will we have?  Perhaps we will have updated the ipod by then. 

What are your house rules for gadgets and kids?

Hunter doing some puzzles with Handy Manny while Cavan snacks and looks on.


Fawn said...

Doesn't your e-reader count as a gadget? ;)

Let's see, we each have a computer, plus Michael's OLD computer, plus Michael's iPod, and there are two toy computers... Not such structured rules as yours, I'm afraid. I like your system. :)

Matt, Kara, Hunter and Cavan said...

Oh! I totally forgot about the new love of my life- the Kindle!!!!

Roberta said...

House Rule: Kendra gets a new gadget, mom gets the "hand me down"!

Allmycke said...

30+ years ago when my son was born, I didn't have a TV and that was the state until he was 5 years old. I don't think that would have worked these days - but I like your system! Why get gadgets that aren't useful (cell phone etc.) and why accustom the kids to always being entertained by square boxes. Persist as long as you can!

Morena said...

Oliver has a Leapster Explorer and loves it. We don't have much in the way of rules at this point since Isaac is too young for it. I just try not to let him use it all day everyday. He gets to use the Ipad at my moms though and he loves it. I doubt we'll buy one but I think we'll start letting him use our old computer on kid friendly websites only of course.

Carole said...

Stories like yours continue to reinforce what I've observed time and time again in the classroom, especially this year with teaching per-K. Kids who have siblings start school already equipped with so many important social skills: sharing, helping, waiting their turn, not always being first, etc. I love the system you're using with the boys, and the time allotted (5 min ea) is perfect.
Because I'm expecting my first so late in life, it's unfortunate that my little one will most likely be an only child. 2+ kids is healthier on so many levels.