Ways the ScreenTime app can reduce stress and increase fun on Christmas day.

by Polly Reichelt on December 15, 2016

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Christmas is one of those times when lots of us parents realise, if we’re lucky, that our own folks worked pretty damn hard to keep us happy. Especially at Christmas. Not that we would’ve fully appreciated this at the time. No. It’s only now we realise there’s much more to a “happy family Christmas” than simply ensuring the correct brand of skateboard is purchased or that the color on the new phone cover contains an acceptable level of sparkle.

The real challenge is the juggling act involved with keeping everyone – big kids, small kids AND grown ups – happy, while avoiding conflict and cross frowns at all costs. It’s a day of high expectations from all parties. The parent would prefer the day to resemble his/her  childhood Christmas. And the kids have their own ideas. Ideas which can quite often involve a device of some sort. Especially if they just unwrapped a new one from under the tree. And this is when problems occur. We didn’t have an iPad to get lost behind in the 80s and we’re not about to lose our children to theirs! 

And so begin the arguments.

Thankfully our app is pretty good at putting a stop to such conflicts with features like the handy 5 minute warning and the ability to set a daily time limit.

There are lots of other ways to use the Screen Time features to your advantage on Christmas Day too. Below we’ve highlighted classic Christmas day occurrences and how to handle them cleverly with our app:

Presents!

Screen Time feature: The whole package

Present unwrapping is easy screen-free time. Unless unwrapping…something with a screen. Will this be your child? Solution: get Screen Time uploaded onto their device before you wrap it for full festive control from day one. Or to buy yourself some extra time, ensure the battery is completely flat before wrapping :D

Food Preparation

Screen Time feature: Awarding Bonus Time

Gone are the days when parents do all the work. Offer the kids bonus time on their device for helping in the kitchen. You’ll sneak in a spot of extra bonding time with them while you’re at it. One potato peeled = 2 minutes bonus time. 1 carrot chopped = 2 minutes bonus time. One glass of Eggnog poured for mommy = 10 minutes of bonus time 😉

Begrudging call to a family member

Screen Time feature: Task List

This is a controversial one that raises the ethical dilemma: should we bribe our children to make contact with our loved ones to wish them a merry Christmas? If your child will happily lift the phone to make that call to Granny on Christmas day, then good work! Or, if like many of us, your darling child would rather play with their new toys than thank the kind soul who sent them, simply add the call to their task list and reward with your preferred amount of bonus time. Is this bribery? Yes. We think sometimes that’s ok. Happy child, happy Granny, happy Christmas  🙂  Failing that, suggest to child in question that they FaceTime Granny from their shiny new device. 

The Feast

Screen Time Feature: Pause

This part of the day is all about the food, the crackers, the bad jokes, the reminiscing about past family Christmases, the occasional massively inappropriate comment made by older generations etc. For many, this gathering happens once a year at best. If you want everyone to be 100% present, use the Pause feature on your kids devices for their full attention. 

The Games

Screen Time feature: Task List

Christmas is not complete without games. If the kids are reluctant, get them to suggest what games they’d prefer to play to make them feel more involved. Failing that, add ‘game time!’ to their list of tasks for extra bonus time. Who knows, they might have so much fun they forget to pick their device back up before the day is done.

Bedtime

Screen Time feature: Lights Out

Grown ups snoring on the sofa; the closing credits of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ are blasting out of the TV – this can mean only one thing: Christmas Day is complete. For the adults at least. Seeing as it’s Christmas, why not change the kids Lights Out setting on their device to a bit later than normal? Chances are they’ve earned it. 

Merry Christmas!

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5 gifts your kids will drop their devices for this Christmas

by Polly Reichelt on December 8, 2016

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We at Screen Time HQ have been reminiscing about our childhood experiences of Christmas. The turkey, the presents, the tree, the films, the occasional family drama, the Rod Stewart tape playing on the stereo (just us?) All experienced, on the whole, together with our families.

Zoom forward a couple of decades and suddenly there are two new guests at the party – the smartphone and the tablet. There is often more than one in the room, and they get a lot of attention.

With 20% of parents set to purchase a device for their kids this Christmas, this scenario isn’t about to change any time soon.

If we were to zoom forward another two decades to a time when our kids are all grown up, what memories would they have of their childhood Christmases? Would they fondly reminisce about that family game of Charades? Or would they have one brief memory of shooting baddies on a screen while occasionally scoffing cookies?

This is clearly an extreme case. But we at Screen Time know only too well how easy it is to lose our kids to their devices. And that argument – the one that can happen when you try to detach child from screen? It’s a daily challenge for a lot parents and one we would all rather avoid over the festive period.  

This isn’t so much of a problem for the parents who use our app. Even so, we thought it might be useful to share our pick of the gifts that might just make your kids switch off their devices without any fuss and join in with some family Christmas fun. Creating some offline memories in the process.

Even better, each one will give your child’s brain a bit of a workout in different areas. We’ve made some cute icons below to demonstrate:

 1. Dig It Up Dinosaur Eggs

Dig up, Dino Egg - Helps kids with: Caring, Thinking and Language

 

It seems that Hatchimals were so popular they have already hatched and flown away from the shelves this Christmas. For those of you who didn’t get your hands on one, here’s an alternative. No, it’s not quite the same as an egg that hatches before your very eyes, but surely nothing beats excavating a dinosaur? And there’s plenty of post-excavation dino nurturing potential if the kids put their minds to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 2.  Pie Face

Pie Face - Helps kids with: Laughter, Teamwork and Coordination

 

Do you have a teen who spends a large proportion of their time posting selfies on Snapchat? If so, what better way to break the ‘selfie spell’ than to splat a pie in each others faces? Also, there is a strong chance all smartphones and tablets will be absent from the table due to a high risk of ‘device death-by-whipped-cream.’

 

 

 

 

 

 3.   My First Lab Mini Duo Scope

Microscope - Helps kids with: Inquisitiveness, Confidence and School work

Put the experimental part of their brains to good use with this aesthetically pleasing microscope. And with so many outdoor-based options for scope analysis like leaves, dead bugs, pond water etc. you’ve got a great incentive to get them outside and breathing some fresh air into their lungs too. Win-win. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 4.   Skateboard

Skateboard - Helps kids with: Exercise, Confidence and Coordination

It goes without saying that a
skateboard has a vast array of benefits such as exercise, confidence, coordination, fresh air, street cred, mildly decreased chance of you feeling like an underappreciated cab driver…

It also provides a proper break from being online. Skating and web browsing = not a clever combo.

 

 

 

 

 

5.   RockJam Electronic Roll Up Drum Kit

Drums - Helps kids with: Memory, Social Skills and Coordination

 

Music has been scientifically proven to increase *deep breath* brain power, memory, social skills, confidence, patience and happiness all at the same time. We also like how these electric drums roll up so they can travel with your children to their friends’ houses for jamming sessions (do people still say jamming? Answers in a tweet please).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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