A little over a month ago, I took my daughter’ iPad away.
Yes, me—the one who always said things like, “Don’t judge my kid on her iPad in a restaurant” and “Who cares about your screen time limits.”
I’m also that mom that fully supported my child’s screen usage with studies on iPad usage increased her dopamine and leveled her out.
It helped her relax.
She learned how to play with toys and friends by watching YouTube.
It taught her songs, stories, music, dances, and math.
But she also became obsessed with her iPad. We got to the point where I had her brother’s iPad charging to use as a back up once her battery died. That is about the point that I realized this has spun out of control.
That and she wasn’t going to bed at night. Even when she didn’t nap. She melted down and became intolerably cruel once she knew her iPad time was over.
All she wanted to do was watch YouTube Kids and use her kid apps.
And she kept talking about Evil Mo.
She kept saying nasty things to her friends, to us, and at school.
At some point, we suspected she was being irritable from spending too much time on her screen.
So one morning in May, she woke up and searched for her iPad. But instead, she got a note from Santa’s Elf that they had taken it away. (Yes, I blamed the elves for her missing tablet).
She had several outbursts a day for the first week without her screen. And they slowly dissolved. We are that point where she only asks for it maybe once a week. She doesn’t even cry when we tell her the elves never brought it back.
Those first few nights, I laid her down at night with a book. I noticed that she sat in bed and looked at every single picture on each page and made up stories. When she was finished she put the book on her table and tucked herself in and fell asleep.
Some nights she did that. Some nights she fell asleep in the guest bedroom while watching TV. And while that is still screen time—I knew what she was watching. Actually, I’ll tell you what she watched because it is the same 5-10 things over and over on repeat.
She has watched Mickey’s Monster Musical, The Nutcracker, Mickey’s Christmas, The Christmas Chronicles, Hocus Pocus, Barbie Adventures, Sophia the First, Cat in the Hat, and other random shows and movies that revolve around Christmas and Halloween.
What I noticed the most about her time away from her iPad is how much time she spends playing with her toys, coloring, drawing, going in her kiddie pool, and playing outside.
These are all things she refuses to do when she is on her iPad.
We have made it about 5-6 weeks now. I can’t even keep track. But we are having less behavior, fewer meltdowns, and a more social kid.
I’m not sure if and when I am ever going to give it back. Probably after the summer at the very soonest.