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As a rule, we have always followed a time limit concept for our kids while they use any gadget, even before the ipad, ipod days….I mean, the TV time, computer games etc. They are not allowed to use any gadget without our permission and that goes for watching TV as well. Only half-hour episodes on weekdays and movies are strictly for weekends. And TV and gadgets are not allowed on a daily basis.
When they were very young, I was always there with them watching their favourite cartoons and that way, it was easy to switch it off once the show got over. (I loved watching those shows too…hey don’t judge me…. I learnt a lot about Rain forests from Diego of “Go Diego Go” Ahem…Diego who… You ask? He is our Dora’s cousin silly!!!!) Just kidding…I am sure all of you mommies know who he is. Ahh…now this just brings back so many memories….Barney, Blue’s clues, wonder pets, and so many more; I can still remember each of the title jingles word for word….I am humming it right now. Ok, ok enough about this. I am rambling away from what I wanted to say.
So as I was saying, as kids grow up and their interests change and their choice of TV shows change, we no longer have the time, patience or interest to watch their shows with them. That’s when it all starts. You are busy with your work and then you hear a pleading voice ‘Can I just watch one more episode please’ or ‘another 5 minutes please’ and before you know it, they have wasted a good one to two hours, glued to TV watching a meaningless program. Same thing happens for Ipad, Tablet or computer games.
When this started happening more often, my husband and I decided to have a timer for these activities. The timer is set before the program or game and when the buzzer goes, no matter what, you have to switch it off. And you can hear the buzzer loud and clear wherever you are in the house, alerting you about the time limit, so no more fooling, forgetting or anything else happening. I can tell you, it really works for us.
You can’t blame the children, they get carried away….oh heck, we adults can’t peel ourselves away from the TV shows sometimes, then how can we expect kids to do it. But limiting their viewing time is very important and as responsible parents we have to do it consistently for their own good. I don’t believe in completely cutting them off the gadgets either. We just have to find the right balance.
Now, all’s going well in buzzer town, but wait till you hear what happens next. The other day, I was checking my mails and doing some random work on my laptop and my son walks up to me and tells me “Mom, I am setting a timer for one hour for your computer time, ok….you know, sometimes you get too engrossed with your work on the computer.” And my daughter, who was not part of the scene before, suddenly appears from nowhere saying, “He is absolutely right mummy…let’s use the timer for your computer time too.”
I don’t know whether it’s their sweet revenge or genuine concern, (oh come on, who am I kidding, it’s the first one of course), but I had to accept it with reluctance. It just drives home the point that gadget time has to be rationed, no matter who uses it. Practice what you Preach…..right.