Worried about your child spending more time with their iPad? Sharing with you these 7 tips which I've learned over the years as a Dad who lets his child tinker with an iPad since 2 years old.
1. Moderate usage
You can always time your child's iPad usage. Let them use an iPad but be sure to set a time limit. There are no specific apps that let you do this so you will have to manually monitor the time yourself. It will also train you to be aware of your child's iPad-playing habits.
2. Pick the right apps
There are thousands of apps available in the app store so be sure to choose carefully. I usually look at the ratings and read the user reviews first to gather information about a specific app before I press that download button. Sticking with a trusted developer helps too. (Shameless plug: Choo Choo Apps are very kid friendly!)
3. Establish a personal connection
One of my fears in letting my child use an iPad too often is that it makes her anti-social. What we normally do at home is that we play with our little one on her iPad together. It also lets us understand what kind of apps she's into and also allows us to gauge her interests.
4. Use your own iTunes account on your child's iPad
This will allow you to control which apps are downloaded on your child's device. If your child grows older, you can give him/her own iTunes account and convert both yours and your child's to a Family account so you can still monitor what apps are downloaded by your li'l one. Personally, I don't think I will allow my child to download apps on her own until she's 9 or 10 though.
5. Assign screen-free days
Don't let your kids get too attached to their iPads. Spend time with them outdoors and encourage them to play with physical toys too (Lego!). With proper balance, you can easily control and manage your child's attachment to her iPad.
6. Set ground rules
Once your child is of proper age and can understand rules, be sure to set them. No iPads during breakfast, lunch or dinner. No iPads during school days. The rules are all up to you and its best to have them so you can teach your child about responsibility and discipline.
7. Customize the iPad's settings
This should be a separate topic because of all the technical stuff but did you know that you can make the iPad kid-friendly by managing allowed content and setting restrictions? For starters, check out Settings >> General >> Accessibility >> Guided Access. This allows you to limit your child to an app, he/she won't be able to exit the app or do anything else outside of it. Settings >> General >> Restrictions allows you to set pin codes for specific apps to limit your child's usage.
As a parent, I firmly believe that the iPad can be a very educational tool if used the right way. With proper discipline and constant supervision, you and your child will have loads of fun with it!
Got any tip to share? Let us know!