A little over a year ago, I came across a blog post via Pinterest (aka The Devil) which talked about being present with your children. It discussed parting ways with technology and NOT being that family with little ones at a restaurant table who were engrossed in iPads and Kindles. I read this post and wanted to be this family. “To hell with technology! I survived without it, and so can my kids,” I thought. I need to have them engaged in conversation and activities at all times and always with me. We will not be that family who relies on technology to get through a restaurant meal, doctors appointment, or situation of the like. I’ll show you Steve Jobs!
It was all such a good idea, until it wasn’t.
While I do very much want to rely on technology as little as possible, I have realized that at this time and where we are at with our children, it is okay to get by from a little help from my friends. In this case, my friends are two Amazon Kindle Fires, one blue for our son, and one pink for our daughter.
Our intentions started out good. We would go out to eat as a family, but it always ended in disaster. There was a wait, or service took too long, or something else catastrophic popped up that I couldn’t predict – which resulted in my 2 year old pushing a plate across the table at Oregano’s and having it smash on the floor. My son doesn’t always want to be engaged in conversation or activity, and as a fellow introvert, I respect that. Trying to keep the attention of a 2 year old is a lot like trying to reason with Britney Spears in 2007. After many attempts at distractions, games, snacks, and everything else you can think of, my husband and I caved. At this time, our meals out as a family, and times where we need our kids to be still are better for it.
I did quite a bit of research on which device we would purchase. Initially my thoughts went towards an iPad that the kids could share. Then I witnessed how sharing went in our house, and it involved lots of screaming. The point of this purchase is to avoid screaming. Once I saw the mental picture of the iPad being tugged and slammed on the floor, I went to the second option on the list, a Kindle Fire. It was half the price of the iPad, which would allow us to purchase two. Upon further research of the device I found out that there is a Kindle Fire made specifically for kids. It is programmed with only child friendly options, can easily have content controlled by parents, has its own anti child abuse case, and comes with a 2 year no questions asked replacement policy. I could run over this thing with my car and not have to explain why I need a new one. Tempting… but considering I got the last two Kindle Fires for Kids at my local Best Buy, I am going to restrain myself from testing that replacement policy.
I still grapple with this decision from time to time. Our biggest rule (among a few) is that the Kindles are NOT to be used when at home. After about 4 months of having them, we have stuck to this rule. I catch myself thinking about how maybe we don’t really need them. Until there was that time I had an appointment and no child care options. Or that other time where the doctors office was running over an HOUR behind. Or that other time when the restaurant lost our order, after we had already waited 45 minutes for a table. Patience is a virtue for sure, but with where we are at in life, I am learning that I can’t always expect it from two kids under 5. In the meantime, a little distraction works just fine.