So, here’s the dilemma…. In order to keep kids entertained/distracted/occupied during the summer months whilst I am working from home, access to the iPad is a great tool and highly portable resource. Trouble is, without my really being aware my youngest will happily spend 3 or more hours watching you tube videos with his head phones on and not engaging with me or his siblings, or the summer days passing by outside. The awareness was selective on my part as it leaves me free to work. That changed recently when as a punishment my youngest was banned from electronics for a few days. What proceeded was much complaining of boredom, an increase in bickering with siblings and general bad temper.
The dilemma becomes how to address the use of something that was probably being misused with the benefit to me of his distraction and therefore not needing me to engage. As a remote working parent (as opposed to stay at home parent), my options are more limited as my work still has to get done. What I am trying from this week is establishing 50:10 rule. This rule is that for every 50 minutes of the hour I work, I set 10 minutes aside to do something with the kids, I already take a fixed hour for us to lunch together (at home or picnic at park) but the 50:10 is new.
So far, this week we have had 10-minute ping pong matches, 10-minute show me what you are doing sessions, chat breaks and drink and snack breaks. Initial evidence would suggest this is working in balance for each of us. No doubt it will evolve and develop as needs and circumstances change. What is less likely, I hope, is that I become the iPad/xbox/Wii parent who uses the electronics to interact and engage with my child so I don’t have to, for whatever reason that might be, work, selfishness or just convenience.
Simon Kemp – CEO