The kids were all screaming; I was in shock… three, brand new, iPod Shuffles had just emerged from behind wrapping paper and I was not quite sure what to do.
Normally, most parents would be extremely happy about their children receiving such gifts from other people. Hey, I didn’t have to pay for them, now did I? It’s not that I wasn’t extremely grateful; I was. No, it’s just that this was new territory for us. My husband not being present when the children received their gifts, I didn’t even know if he would let them keep these, let alone what rules would now need to be instituted.
I’m sure our girls all breathed a sigh of relief when their pop decided they would be able to keep their lovely present. We popped them open, set them up, organized their tunes, and then set some ground rules.
No Listening When We Have Company – I refuse to allow my children to become one of the masses of children who sit around with ear plugs in their head, while adults are sitting around trying to have a conversation with them. When guests are present or when visiting other people, no iPods should be seen.
No Listening During Family Time – It is one thing to take out a device to grab a quick photo of all the fun, but to sit around preoccupied with other things during our time together as a family, is not cool. Luckily, theirs does not have a camera, so this should not pose a problem.
Listening Time is Limited – We all like music in our house; we own tons of it. However, there is a time and place for everything. I don’t want our children to become dependent on outside entertainment to keep them occupied. They need to learn to monitor themselves and limit how much media they intake.
They are free to listen when they are not schooling, when they are reading, on the road, and during reading time at bedtime. There are plenty of opportunities for them to listen to their music and enjoy their new devices.
I really don’t want this to become an area of their lives governed by me. Their guidelines are loose on purpose, so they learn to make wise choices on their own. Considering the iPod Shuffles don’t come with anything but the ability to play music, this shouldn’t prove to be too hard.
Thus far, they are doing just fine. They are listening a lot less than one might expect and choosing to use their time doing other things; writing in the awesome journals their tía gave them, drawing on their new light board, reading, and simply being kids.
Perhaps this is good ground work for the future, when other devices come into play. By starting off small, the kids are learning to be faithful with the little things. When the big ones come along, a good foundation will have been laid and we’ll be ready for it.
Do you have ground rules for device use in your household?