Oh those iPads. How did we ever live without them?
That one is supposedly "mine." But AJ logs a lot more hours on it than I do.
However, it did solve most of our iPad sharing problems. The boys could each have one. Aliza got an iPod for her birthday last year, so she's a little bit better with not getting much iPad time. Mark, who never got much iPad time to begin with, got an iPod through a promotion at work. This past summer I lost my cell phone, and after a couple of months of using a borrowed one, I upgraded to an iPhone in October.
It is now possible for all five of us to be in the same room and on separate iDevices.
You're welcome, Apple. Happy to keep you in business.
So just how did we get along without the iPads before? Hm. Did we watch more TV? Not any more than we do now. Did we play outside or interact with each other more? A little, maybe.
In the first few months, several of us would crowd onto the couch and use the iPad together. At least once in awhile. The screen isn't really big enough for multiple people to view at the same time, but at least we looked at it together.
We don't do that much anymore. Now it's much more common to find the boys in the living room, each tuned in to his individual iPad, with one eye on the TV.
I've read about how much screen time is recommended for kids of varying ages. I don't know specifically what the numbers are for eight year olds, but I'm pretty sure it's less than eight or nine hours a day.
Of course that's not on school days. That's only weekends. And summers. Holidays. Sick days. Car trips. Doctor visits.
When we run errands about town, I leave the iPads at home as much as possible, to get a little away-from-the-screen time. The problem with that plan is, we are a family of five, and we all have needs and desires, and we cannot cater to the boys' needs and wants 100% of the time. Sometimes I need to keep the boys entertained in Target, so Aliza can shop for a friend's birthday present. Sometimes I want to have a conversation with some other Fragile X families at a coffee shop. Maybe we just want to get through the mall without Zack deciding to take a break and sprawl out on the floor between the Pillow Pet and the Rosetta Stone kiosks. Sometimes I really need to have those iPads along.
What the boys mostly use the iPads for is watching videos on You Tube. Stimming. Feeding their OCD tendencies.
So at home, anyway, I'm trying a new strategy. I'll restrict the iPads' access, so that You Tube and Safari are not available. Then I try to add a few, new, fun counting or animal or reading apps every few days. PBS, Super Why, Yo Gabba Gabba, and Team Umizoomi apps are popular with the boys because they feature their favorite TV characters. They haven't yet caught on to the Dora or the Diego apps. I wish there was a Wonder Pets app. Zack would be all over that.
If I really need those iPads to distract and/or entertain, though, Safari and You Tube come right back into view. They are a great educational tool, but they are also a pacifier. A crutch.
So we lean on those iPads a lot, to get us through the days, and they are a lifesaver. It's why we constantly ask ourselves that question - However did we get along before iPads? And how do you keep your iPad from just becoming another way to watch videos?
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