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To sell my DDs tablet and the switch?

(89 Posts)
SolutionsforScreens Tue 30-Jun-20 09:50:55

DD is 5, almost 6. Year 1.

I am strict with screentime and usually it’s not a problem, 45 minutes twice in the week and 90 minutes 1 weekend day. Usually it’s no problem with no arguments in the week as 2 nights a week she has activities and 1 night a week she goes to after school club, another night she’s at ExHs but has her own there so isn’t actually off it. Weekends were always trickier as she’s only here EOW but I’d compromise with her and we’d go swimming or she’d have a party of a school friend or we’d go out for a walk etc. so she wouldn’t have it until after dinner on Sundays. She has her own tablet purely because I don’t have one and I don’t really want her on my computer or phone. It’s completely locked down; childrens youtube with selected channels, no ability to download or purchase anything etc. (I can do these things for her if needed).

She was only allowed on the switch at weekends for half an hour (parental controls on that thing are amazing) and she’d lose half an hour on her tablet if she chose to go on the switch.

During the lockdown I was less strict with it, she had to do any English or Maths work recommended by school, and read to me from our collection of ORT books but then she could have 90 minutes per day doing whatever on the tablet. She was also allowed 1 hour twice a week on the switch.

She returned to school at the start of June. Every morning she tells me (not asks) that she is going on her tablet or the switch after school, if I tell her no because we’re doing playdoh or baking or watching a film together she screams at me saying she hates me and she wants to live with her dad. She tells me she hates me I’m horrible and that dad is much nicer. She kicks off if it’s bedtime and has been known when the parental controls kick in on either the tablet or the switch to thrown the device shouting it’s not fair. She’s told her teacher at school that I’m mean for not letting her go on “whenever she wants” (thankfully her teacher has 2 DCs slightly older and is strict on their screentime so gets it), she’s also told the same teacher that when she goes to high school she’s living with her dad. She sometimes refuses to go to school until I promise she can play them after school, if I say no I have to drag her in kicking and screaming shouting that I'm not her mum and she hates me.

ExH lets DD do whatever she wants, stay up until whenever, no restrictions on screentime, doesn’t feed her proper meals just lets her eat sweets or gets a takeaway, never takes her anywhere. Pretty sure he doesn’t have any toys for her at his house. He has her EOW for 24 hours and 1 night a week for tea and I know on the night she’s there for tea she comes back grumpy, shouty and not wanting to go to bed. I know he also lets her play on whatever she wants to whereas I only let her play games rated Pegi 7 or below on switch and recommended for up to age 8 on tablet. Often when I pick her up on his weekend she falls asleep in the car (he lives 20 minutes’ drive from me).

In terms of screentime I’m one of the more relaxed parents about it in her class, most of her friends only go on tablets at school and the ones that use them at home get an hour at the weekend only. One of her best friends isn’t even allowed to watch TV (I have that on constantly for company mainly but forget to switch it off so DD watches it) and her mum gets upset if she finds out she’s been on a tablet or computer at school.

I don’t really want to get rid of the switch as I also play it (for an hour or so a day once DDs in bed I go on one of my consoles) but if I have to I will as I also have a PS4 but DD doesn’t play on that (she knows what it is though and uses it as a DVD player) although I do play games only available on the switch (Animal Crossing, Cooking Mama etc) so would be sad to sell it but I think it’s the only way to stop DD behaving like a spoilt brat.

Any other solutions I’m at my wits end with it?

YANBU - Sell the devices
YABU - Don't sell

OP’s posts: |
Michaelbaubles Tue 30-Jun-20 09:55:26

It sounds like this is a reaction to a lack of boundaries at her dad’s. Children really like to know what the rules are and being in charge is scary for them so unfortunately for you she’s testing you to make sure your rules are rock solid. It sounds like you have a good grasp of boundaries and what’s good for her so I’d just keep doing what you’re doing and never judge an inch - she doesn’t actually want all this unlimited screen time, she wants you to be strict but she might not know that or be able to articulate it.

cornflakegirl Tue 30-Jun-20 10:39:56

Does she ever get to choose what you do after school, or do you always control that?
Why is it okay to watch a film together after school but not play on the switch together?
Why is the tv on constantly okay, but playing on her tablet isn't?

memememe Tue 30-Jun-20 11:31:27

shes been at school let her play on her switch. why dont you play with her?

slipperywhensparticus Tue 30-Jun-20 11:35:14

Dad sounds the issue here

BurtsBeesKnees Tue 30-Jun-20 11:37:14

I had this issue too. My ex is really lax and let's her do what she wants. I have boundaries re electronics etc. I took the bull by the horns and put my foot down, no extra time and if she refused to go to school I'd remove her electronics the next time (she always went to school, even if she was a bit late). It was hideous for a time but she's now ok with it. She knows where the boundaries are at my house and is happy. I'm afraid it'll be a few weeks of awful behaviour but she'll come out the other end all the better for knowing where she stands when she's with you.

Can you talk to your ex about having the same rules at his house?

Bringmewineandcake Tue 30-Jun-20 11:51:44

Look at your own behaviour - you have the tv on all day and want to play on the switch/ ps4 in your own time. Why can you not see that your DD wants the same? How would you feel if someone said you had to do playdoh or baking once your DD was in bed?
Boundaries are fine but let her choose when she uses her time on the tablet/switch. Once it's used up, then she has to do something else. You might find that over time it becomes less of a battle to do something else if she doesn't have to fight to get on it in the first place.

slipperywhensparticus Tue 30-Jun-20 11:53:15

For school refusal I would say no to having the electricals my response to my kids is always they are a treat for good behaviour I'm not seeing ANY good behaviour here your going to school now play up you get nothing after school (I've put my eldest in the car in his underwear before for school refusing so he knows I'm serious)

Fuck the threats about living with dad she is looking for a reaction off you don't give it

MitziK Tue 30-Jun-20 12:01:35

Getting rid wouldn't make it any easier, as then it would be 'I want to live there because he has got my switch and you got rid of mine'.

I think half an hour isn't much - no sooner is it started than you're turning it off - and she's clearly looking forward to some downtime with it after school.

Sometimes kids just want to chill, not interact with adults, and play and do something they want to. It's part of them becoming independent little people, rather than toddlers to be managed.

Bet half the 'oh, they get 45 seconds once in a blue moon when jupiter is in Orion' people are really chucking the kids an iPad the moment the front door opens, by the way.

CheshireDing Tue 30-Jun-20 12:01:49

She’s only 5 and sounds like she’s in charge.

As pp said you can suggest baking but if she doesn’t want to do it it’s a bit mean to try and make her and only going to create a pointless argument.

I would give her chance to sort it out and come to an agreement then if not agreed the switch etc go in the loft for now.

It seems very young to have all these devices to me tbh.

Maybe you need to reassess the things she does on her own and with you in leisure time so that you are in agreement , and yes ex needs to put rules in place too.

flirtygirl Tue 30-Jun-20 12:02:10

I think your boundaries are too tight, borderline mean.
Come of it, half an hour per week in non lockdown. That's so crap.

I think you need to shift the boundaries a little then be firm to that. Firm boundaries are needed but your screen time allowance is just mean.

So no don't sell. Yes her father being too lax is making the situation worse but you can only sort out your side of it all.

If you carried on like that she would go live with her dad and from around age 10 a court would listen to her views more.

whensmynexthol1day Tue 30-Jun-20 12:07:44

I agree with flirtygirl- you are being too restrictive.
Kids need some downtime after school. I'm not sure I spent my time after school doing much other than watching kids tv and I've turned out ok as an adult!

Also not all screen time is equal. My reception aged ds spends more time on YouTube listening to science videos, checking out the weather on weather apps etc than he does watching cartoons. He was using his phonics to try and search for information about thunderstorms the other day. The internet is a pretty cool learning resource if used well.

Ellisandra Tue 30-Jun-20 12:10:26

Unclench!
By which I don’t necessarily mean give in to more screen time! But I don’t understand why your decision is sell or not, as you might want to use it. She’s 6! What, you can’t just put it away for when she’s in bed or at her dads? You may want to be rigid in your rules for her, but why so rigid in your own thinking? You don’t need to sell it.

I’m a divorced parent with very different screen approaches too. She’s young, but she will get through it - children can learn that rules are different. She’s just very young, right now.

I think the only thing I would change here is that you sometimes promise her the tablet after school when she’s kicking off in the morning. Stop doing that. Let her kick off all she likes. If anything, you should be taking it away on those days.

Just keep in mind that she’s not deliberately being horrid - this is difficult for little kids.

Oh and leave off having your TV on constantly if you’re bothered about screens!

justponderingg Tue 30-Jun-20 12:13:50

45 minutes twice in the week
and 90 minutes 1 weekend day

That's all??
That's all you let your child watch tv OR play a game!?

Wow. That's mean.

Screens are not the work of the devil.

Everyone has different boundaries and different levels or what is normal, and her dad sounds way too relaxed, but you are so unnecessarily strict.

Maybe if you met in the middle and were more open to change she would be less angry.

vanillandhoney Tue 30-Jun-20 12:16:38

Why are you controlling what she does after school to such an extent? Does she not get any say in how she spends her downtime?

I think you're too strict and also a bit hypocritical - if screens are bad, why are you allowed your TV shows on all day long?

Ellisandra Tue 30-Jun-20 12:18:48

I think you also need to think carefully about WHY you’re restricting screen time.
You seem quite closely aware of other parents, and the teacher, and their decisions.
Are you worried about being judged?

I have never had a minute by minute restriction on the tablet. My daughter (older than yours, but at that age too) knew that she had more than her friends, and knew that when I said stop, she had to stop. There’d be some wheedling, but no actual meltdown.

How does the timing work? Are you literally cutting her off mid game, mid episode? I think it’s better to say, “you can have about 30 mins, at 25 mins I’ll check where you are...” - then sit with her to finish the game that lasts until 34 minutes (to make sure she doesn’t start another!) How would you feel to be interrupted mid game?

Just be careful you’re not worrying too much about what you think you ought to do about screen time.

Ellisandra Tue 30-Jun-20 12:24:01

Btw - the reason I’m guessing that you care too much about what others think, is you saying about her reading to you from your ORT books. Love, I don’t care if she’s reading trashy rubbish that’s fun but doesn’t increase her vocabulary in the slightest! That’s FINE. You don’t have to tell random strangers on MN that you use ORT books. Good for you if you do - no problem if you don’t.

Sounds like a single parent to an only child (I was). Trust me - screens can be your friend in that situation. It’s OK!

BeingATwatItsABingThing Tue 30-Jun-20 12:25:02

I don’t restrict my DD’s screen time. You know what? She regulates it herself. She’s 6. When she’s tired or doesn’t want to do much, she goes on the tablet a lot. Other days, she barely touches it. I never have any arguments about not wanting to go to school or not wanting to do activities I’ve thought of for us because she knows she can have the tablet another time.

She uses mine or my DH’s iPad or plays a game on the Xbox and if one of us needs it back, she’ll happily hand it over if we give her a 5 minute warning. I never just take it from her with no warning because I would hate someone to do that to me.

OP, I think your restrictions are too much. As you said, you use it more than that and constantly have the TV on so I think you’re being hypocritical.

Wyntersdiary Tue 30-Jun-20 12:27:01

think yabu ... thats not a lot of screen time at all. you cant play a game in 30 minutes really.

screens arnt completely terrible o_0 and lots of educational games on both switch and tablet. i think you are too strict and i would be careful losing your relationship with her.

TheSoapyFrog Tue 30-Jun-20 12:28:54

I think you're being a bit tight with it tbh. Why are you making her do things after school like baking when she doesn't really want to do it?
I know when I get home, I want to sit and chill and unwind, not get stuck into another activity as soon as I get in.
School can be quite hard going for little children. They're very active and there's a lot of interaction. My boys are 5 and when they get home, one watches TV and the other wants to sit in his room watching his tablet. They have dinner, some more time on the tablet/watching TV and then bath and bed.
A tablet is no better or worse than a TV

Ellisandra Tue 30-Jun-20 12:29:31

Just reading back... you do actually say that she reacts when the parental controls kick in. So... am I right then that she just gets cut off?

How would YOU feel, if you were half way into a game, or a story, and BANG - kicked out?

Why are you setting her up to fail, emotionally? It is not her fault that games and TV shows are designed to keep you engaged! No wonder she’s raging.

You don’t need to increase the screen time at all, to just change the way you manage the cut off. As I described above, don’t just kick her off. Remind her it’s coming, check where she is, be slightly flexible.

With TV shows, I’ll say, “how many minutes left?” if it’s 10, I might say - go on, let’s finish it together. If it’s 20, I’ll say - that’s too long, let’s watch until the end of this scene, OK?

It’s like advice to give a 5 minute warning before changing activity - young kids need a bit of help with that.

DressingGownofDoom Tue 30-Jun-20 12:33:01

You're controlling it so tightly that you're creating a problem. I allow DS unlimited screen time, the result is that he barely looks at his tablet because he knows it's there when he wants it.

WutheringTights Tue 30-Jun-20 12:36:25

Pre lockdown my 7 year old was allowed half an hour a day on devices five days a week once he had done certain chores (he had activities on the other two days). He is only allowed certain specific games or TV. He pushed against it but we were rock solid on boundaries and he largely accepted it. Since lockdown he's probably had two hours a day most days so that we can work. He's already saying that he's dreading end of lockdown as he won't be allowed on devices so much. You just have to keep being rock solid on boundaries. She should be able to understand that the rules are different in different houses.

We also limited our use of devices when the children are around, which helps. So no TV on during the day unless we're actively watching it together, no sitting playing on our phones unless it's work etc. I think modelling the behaviour you expect from them helps.

Ellisandra Tue 30-Jun-20 12:36:29

Unlimited wouldn’t work for all kids though. My nephew literally would never be off screens - he simply wouldn’t get bored. Or my daughter, through not quite as much as him! I limit it indirectly - by making sure there are other activities. And directly, but in a more general - OK, though now - rather than literally timing her to the minute.

teaflake Tue 30-Jun-20 12:37:38

The TV on constantly is way worse, imo. Absolute passive dross.

Way too tight on gaming time. It's not even worth her picking up the console. Or is that the idea?

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