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To ask them to leave the screens at home?

(236 Posts)
goindowntoyasgursfarm Sat 17-Jan-15 20:26:26

Got friends coming for lunch tomorrow, their DCs are 9 and 8, similar to our 3. The last couple of times they've been round, their DC have brought ipad/phone/pod some combination or all of the above ...

All the DC retreat and basically stare at screens for the duration, more or less. My older DS tries to suggest other games to play, but they're usually not interested.

Last time they came, DS1 talked to me for over an hour after they'd gone home, saying he would like to play more with friends' older DS "but not on screens". He was actually really sad about the whole issue.

WIBU to ask the parents to leave all the devices at home tomorrow? I'm sooo tired of watching all the DC turn into zombies whenever these friends come round, but at the same time it feels kind of demanding/unwelcoming ...WWYD?

footallsock Sat 17-Jan-15 20:29:04

No idea what I would do but totally sympathise

RedSoloCup Sat 17-Jan-15 20:30:21

Very awkward I think they are rude bringing them tbh but I have not real experience as my oldest is just 9.

ChippingInLatteLover Sat 17-Jan-15 20:31:27

You could maybe suggest, but to ask it... No, not really.

woowoo22 Sat 17-Jan-15 20:31:29

I don't think I'd say anything, would probably just try and say oh you don't need those out, why don't you do x, y, z with DS etc.

NickiFury Sat 17-Jan-15 20:32:18

No you can't ask them that. I understand where you're coming from though.

ChippingInLatteLover Sat 17-Jan-15 20:32:45

I mean, you could 'ask nicely' if they'd mind etc, but not ask outright (which really means demand), iyswim.

dietcokeandwine Sat 17-Jan-15 20:37:47

I agree OP and it's a difficult one particularly as so many kids are wired to the iPad etc these days. Hard when weather is so unpredictable too as outdoor play activities not always possible.

We have a 10yo who loves his screen games and play dates with close friends will always involved plenty of minecraft, pokemon etc BUT I have to say in the scenario you describe we would not allow him to take iPad or DS with him unless we were visiting friends whose DC were into similar things. (And even then, we would limit it, get them out and about in the afternoon etc. And no screens at the table ever ever ever).

How well do you think a request to leave screens at home would go down? Or alternatively could you try and structure the day a bit, ie suggest they all do something non screen related at first and then perhaps allow some screen games after lunch?

I do sympathise though. It frustrates me with my own oldest boy that screen time is just seen as the ultimate leisure activity.

goindowntoyasgursfarm Sat 17-Jan-15 20:39:37

Oh I would ask nicely in the first place ... Just worried they'd see it as a demand iyswim? Woowoo I have often suggested other things to do but unless it's sunny and dry outside (doesn't often happen in Jan! ) the other DC don't want to ...sad

BigPawsBrown Sat 17-Jan-15 20:44:19

I don't think you should ask, but I wish you could especially with adults

flashnorman Sat 17-Jan-15 20:58:57

Could you turn off your wifi & say it's broken....?

goindowntoyasgursfarm Sat 17-Jan-15 21:03:21

Thanks, dietcoke, x-posts. A structured day is what I try to do but it always seems to fall by the wayside/I end up feeling like a sergeant major and not really having people on board. Need to try harder, I guess.

Flashnorman, I have tried that! But unfortunately there's still all sorts of built-in games they manage to play.

sillymillyb Sat 17-Jan-15 21:03:27

Can you be a bit sneaky and say to other parents that your just giving them a heads up that you have banned your dc from screens over the weekend but not to worry as you have provided x games / activities instead? Takes the focus off their dc but would make it awkward for them to turn up with the iPads / phones etc too?

wtffgs Sat 17-Jan-15 21:05:28

No, of course you can't! You can't police other people's kids and their screen time. If you were my friend I would interpret it as a criticism of my parenting. I don't let my kids have screens at social things FWIW.

Notso Sat 17-Jan-15 21:09:27

I don't think you can ask them to leave them at home.
DS1's friends always bring theirs when they visit. I do turn the wifi off after if they're here for a full day rather than an hour or so.
How friendly are you, would the parents back you up if you told them your DS really wanted to play X so it was time to switch off?

Notso Sat 17-Jan-15 21:11:10

Oops x post sorry.

sillymillyb's suggestion is good.

TheRealMaryMillington Sat 17-Jan-15 21:11:46

I would just ask the parents straightforwardly not to allow them to bring them. Why not?

Amongst our friends we all check on whether we think screens or no screens depending on occasion. Never for lunch, sometimes if it's a weekend away, but more often not.

I think it's actually quite rude of the parents to allow them to bring them.

TeenAndTween Sat 17-Jan-15 21:16:06

Can you ask the parents what the DC might like to do instead of screens for some of the time? I used to ask parents before children came round to play first time, so I knew what to suggest that they might enjoy.

(The parents may also then get the hint regarding screens too).

goindowntoyasgursfarm Sat 17-Jan-15 21:35:17

If you were my friend I'd interpret it as a criticism of my parenting. Yes, wtffgs, that's what I'm afraid of sad . But at the same time I don't see why screens should be imposed on my DC, in my own house.

It's v difficult and some of the suggestions here are really helpful, thanks. Still considering ...

WonderingWillow Sat 17-Jan-15 21:41:02

That's a shame, it gives the parents who allow their DC to use screens responsibly a bad name. They obviously have no respect, but I'm not sure you can say 'please don't bring them' without it making you look like you're being mean. Sorry sad

TheRealMaryMillington Sat 17-Jan-15 21:44:57

If you can't just say it, could you not say something along the lines of "we are really trying to limit screen time especially when we have company, it would really help if your kids didn't bring their iPads etc". It might be a bit pointed but tbh it needs saying. It's almost like bringing an uninvited friend along.

How well do you know them?

goindowntoyasgursfarm Mon 19-Jan-15 09:28:26

Meant to update last night but got caught up with stuff.

Well that didn't go too well! I texted yesterday am saying "Hi, it's beautiful and sunny here, snow still on the ground, think the kids will be happy outside for most of the afternoon so no need to bring any computer games or anything today! smile. Looking forward to catching up." <this was me trying to make it sound all positive grin>

The door went later and I opened it to friend's older DS walking through the door while staring at his iPad. And not giving me so much as a glance, let alone an actual 'hello'. Grrrr. He almost tripped over the threshold and it would have been a comedy moment if I hadn't been so shock. Friend said she hadn't got my text until they were actually on the road. Possible, I suppose, but I'd sent it 2 hrs before and they only live 35mins away ...Plus she'd updated FB from her phone after I texted, so <hmmm>

Got all the DC out in the snow for about 30mins then it was time to eat. Afterwards, they couldn't be persuaded to go back outside so despite me directing them to the board games/craft bits and pieces/table football etc, they settled down with the bloody devices again. After about 45mins I gently tried to get my 4yo to come and do something else, resulting in the mother of all tantrums, even after the iPad/pod had been put away by the parents.

Friends looked on sympathetically but then gave the killer blow - they think we don't give our DC enough time on computers and we should let them self-regulate the amount of time they spend on them. Was pretty aghast - my DC each get a pretty strictly timed 30 mins on the computer 3x times aweek. Including the 4yo, which I personally think is actually too much but I feel that I can't separate him from the other two and it's just easier to give them all the same.

Does anyone think I'm depriving my DC with this "paltry" amount of screen time? We've had lots of chats with the older two about it and they are genuinely happy with that.

So, not sure what to do next time we see friends but think we may just have to see them less often sad

browneyedgirl86 Mon 19-Jan-15 09:39:27

OP I think your friend is rude. The children shouldn't be bringing their devices to others houses to sit and play on them constantly. But sadly it's the way a lot of parents are these days. I was at a family gathering at the weekend with two kids there and all the kids did was sit glued to their respective devices all night. It's sad.

sugarman Mon 19-Jan-15 09:42:22

Holy cow, they sound frightful!

Do you really need these people in your life? Because they sound like a lot more trouble than they are worth.

Oh and they so did get your text and it triggered their defensive "no your dc are deprived" stance. Utter nonsense and very rude.

YoullLikeItNotaLot Mon 19-Jan-15 09:46:04

There's no way of wording this without sounding horrid so apologies in advance but...the PARENTS are YOUR friends. The fact that your children & their children are the same age doesn't automatically mean they'll be friends or like each other or have the same interests.. The other children may simply not want to play with your children but have to tag along with mum and dad.

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