Happy Easter with iPads

The introduction of over 900 iPads into the College has been a massive undertaking. The device has provided new learning opportunities and access to a world of information, innovation and creativity. While, the iPad has provided a service of engagement within the classroom context, it can create issues within the home environment. With the Easter Holidays now upon us many parents may question how they can have a Happy Easter with an iPad in their home. In some circumstances there may be numerous tablets being used in the same household and this can significantly influence family relationships.

When children arrive home on the first day of holidays with their iPad they will do what they want to do unless certain boundaries have been identified. Children will remain connected, engaged and attached to their iPad unless they are prompted to experience true rest. Some students may demonstrate obsession and addiction. I believe that it is important to escape and do something different as a family. It is essential that parents lead by example and show initiative and action and plan activities during the break that encourage the iPad to be left behind because there are other exciting thing happening.

I am planning a trip to Maleny Dairies with my family during the holidays. We also plan on going to Noosa. I also want to plant some trees in my backyard with my children and show them how to plant a tree properly. We will probably go for bike rides around our neighborhood. This may sound all well and true, however, usually doing things as a family will cost ridiculous amounts of money. Usually there is free family entertainment on offer during the holiday season. Often the community events that have been planned for your local area have free food, prizes and activities and will expose your children to different cultural experiences. Leave the iPad and camera behind and free yourself of your phone while you are at it.

Be disconnected.
Connect with your family.

Here's how:

Parents must be role models and be active. There are many activities that can be planned to make your family active. Sometimes activities can place demand on the budget. While this may be the case there are many economical activities that won't empty the wallet or purse. Going to the beach and having fish and chips is always a favorite or taking a stroll along the beach and grabbing an ice cream is always a winner. There are many trails and bush tracks that are worthy of exploration and some incredible parks and places of interest that are begging to be explored. There are many markets that can be visited and you could always take a little picnic lunch somewhere and enjoy the food after browsing stalls. Plan an outing and do something different.

Parents must have fun with their children. While the weather may not always be great or the budget stretch as far as needed, simply dropping down to the local video store and locking in a night to watch a movie together is a great idea. The pop corn machine that is stored in the cupboard can be used again and a fresh batches of popcorn made to make the night truly memorable. If this isn't something of interest then a night of puzzles or card games may be more suitable. I've always wanted to set up a projector on the bonnet of the car and pretend I'm having a drive in movie experience in the garage. I might actually do it one day! Children need to be taught fun, don't let the iPad teach them.

Parents must set holiday goals. It is vital that plans are made and marked on a calendar. If goals are not made, then it is likely that your child will end up playing their iPad each and every day and you'll wonder why they never get off it! Students will require motivation and for this to happen they must be provided with attractive alternatives. Otherwise, iMessaging, FaceTime and Gaming will become the default and the holidays will be completely wasted. While one may think online activity is engaging, excessive online activity is disengaging and may develope unhealthy habits and establishing an unwanted culture within the household. For this reason it is vital that parents mark their territory, identify the rules and have clear expectations and consequences. You may want to create a poster for the fridge similar to the poster that I have created for the classroom (Term 2).



Parents must determine where iPads can be used. In my opinion it is appropriate for children to be play games on their iPads during holidays, however, screen time must be managed. Mobile technology is best used in open areas. I recommend that children are not allowed to use iPads behind closed doors and they certainly shouldn't be using them in the privacy of their own bedroom. Parents should also be aware of what applications are installed on their child's iPad and educate themselves about the dangers and the functionality of each applications (i.e.; SnapChat)

Parents must set boundaries. You may decide that your child can use the iPad from 9-10 am and again between 4-6 pm. It is important that your children are aware of the rules and expectations and that they are fully aware that disobeying the rules results in consequences. I wouldn't suggest you remove scheduled events or outings. Instead remove the privilege of using the device. If necessary lock the device in a filing cabinet to remove any temptation that your child my feel. Boundaries will place the parent in control and reposition empowerment.

Parents should interact with their child. Another great idea is to use the iPad with your child during the holidays. You could play '4 Pics 1 Word' together or download 'Scrabble' or 'Monopoly'. Using the iPad with your child can help break down barriers in regards to technology and may provide you with opportunity to talk about what they post online (Faecbook, Twitter, Instagram). Talking with your child about their iPad will demonstrate your interest and you will connect with your children in new ways.

Plan a Happy Easter and don't simply let your children eat chocolate and play their iPad. Be active, have fun, set goals, establish boundaries, schedule time that the iPad can be used and interact with your child. Parent with intention.

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