Are you a total nagger? Come on, this is a safe space, you can tell me.
Well, I am too. I nag my kids about everything all the time. I don’t do it because I want to. I do it because I have to, just like you.
If I had to get down to the source of my nagging, it comes down to two things: Attitude and screen time. And so often, too often, attitude and screen time are completely intertwined.
You see, I want my kids to have screen time. One could even argue that I need my kids to have screen time for my own sanity, but there are limits; there have to be limits. Limits not only relating to how much screen time they get, but limits on the kinds of things they do, read, and watch during screen time. I don’t have to tell you it’s a scary online world out there, but what you might not know is that there is a solution, and it’s a really, really good one.
Boy Wonder was in need of an electronic reader for school. OK, not in “need” per se, but in desperate want. He’s an avid reader and lugging around the complete hardcover Harry Potter series in his already overstuffed backpack was hardly working, so we thought, “Kindle Fire,” because there was supposedly this cool app I heard buzz about.
I’m not going to bore you with the amazingness that is the Kindle Fire, that’s for you to find out for yourself, but the app that I wanted to talk more about? Well, it pretty much changed my parenting. No lie.
The app is called Kindle FreeTime and it allows parents to create profiles for each of their children filled with age-appropriate content. Finally, a personalized, safe place for my kids to play that’s not limited to one website or one channel. With Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, my kids have access to a vast library of videos, books, and games. I don’t have to worry about my kids accessing the web or accidentally buying stuff either – everything is password protected with my password.
But how did this solve all my nagging, you ask? Kindle FreeTime allows me to set screen time limits based on function. Say I want Boy Wonder only to have 1 hour of game time, 1 hour of movie/show time, and unlimited book time. I can do that. When his time is up, the app is like, “Your time is up, sorry Dude” – OK, it doesn’t really say that but time’s up is time’s up. No more game or video time for you. He’s then free to engage in reading on the device until his heart is content.
Don’t you see the magic? I’m no longer the bad guy, which is the problem we’ve always had. In the past, he and I would agree on the screen time limits and then, when it came time to enforce them, it was an epic battle. I’m the bad guy for turning off the TV or removing the game device from his busy hands. Now he’s resigned to the limits enforced by the app.
There are loads of other cool app features that I’m not here to sell you; I just wanted to let you in on what’s totally working for me and my kids right now.
Note: I was provided with a Kindle Fire at no cost for my honest review of Kindle FreeTime. All opinions are my own.