I hate to admit this.
As a parent, I preach the value of honesty and virtuosity on the daily. If I catch my kids in a lie, you better believe I’ll give them a hard time for it… Teaching them this lesson is in their best interests.
But lately I haven’t been as honest with my kids. I have a secret. It’s called OurPact.
… Let’s start from the beginning.
A few months ago, I upgraded my devices. Not only did I get a brand new iPhone, but I also splurged and bought myself a new iPad as well. My kids are old enough that they are playing around with technology and had been borrowing my devices, so I decided to take my old phone and iPad and hand them over to my kids.
Before I lament on the headache this caused, I give pause: since then, my older kid has started learning to code, my younger has discovered a passion for guitar (and taught himself how to play from online tutorials and videos).
Back to the headache.
Any parent can relate… Handing over devices to kids is easy as pie, but when it comes to taking them away? This is when the trouble started… Big trouble.
I couldn’t believe it. My kids are usually pretty mellow; they know their limits and stay within them, they understand the rules… But there was something about those screens that had them in a trance. Every time I asked for the phone or tablet to be turned off, there was an argument. I mean.. Every. Single. Time.
I had healthy conversations about rules, and decided to try ‘screen free Sundays,’ but those didn’t last. They never did. Every time I tried to manage screen time, there was drama.
I was griping about this over lunch one day, when my friend enlightened me beyond enlightenment. She told me about an unique parental control app called OurPact that lets parents remotely control their children’s devices. You can setup automated schedules (think bedtime) or block access at a touch (think dinner time)… All without the arguments about ‘two more minutes.’
My mind was blown.
The first thing I did was download the app. Literally right there at lunch. (Ahem, it’s free.)
As soon as I got home, I paired my old devices to my OurPact account. Then… I blocked access “Until I Say So.” Within seconds, all the apps and Internet browsers disappeared off of the devices (save for a few boring ‘stock’ apps that come on the phone, like the calculator, and – thankfully – iMessage). It was like magic.
I re-granted access, and the apps all came back. I set up automated schedules for bedtime and school. Then, I sat back and waited for the miracle that is OurPact to unfold.
The kids were happily playing on their screens, when I kindly asked them to put them away to come for dinner. I didn’t even get a response, just silence. I ask again… This time I get “Just a minute!”.
I think not.
I took OurPact out on my (flashy, new) iPhone, and blocked access for one hour. Four seconds later, I hear gasps of astonishment from the other room. Then, panic ensued.
The entire time, I played it cool. The kids were frantic, trying to figure out what happened to their phones.
Then, it just slipped out of my mouth: a white fib.
The kids came in for dinner, and I calmly told them that I had no idea what the problem was, that their devices must be broken. They seemed a tad flustered, but at a loss for what to do, they shrugged their shoulders, set their devices aside, and got to eating.
… For the first time ever I wasn’t the enemy, and my kids were sitting at the dinner table… Without their devices… Less than a minute after I’d first called them. I felt like I’d just played a royal flush.
After dinner, the devices ‘miraculously’ turned back on. Then again at bedtime, they switched off, like clockwork. The kids were confused, needless to say, but there wasn’t a fuss.
So, this is my confession: I lied to my kids, and I’m not giving myself too hard of a time for it.
After all, it’s in their best interests.
(Psst… As mentioned, OurPact is totally free. You can learn more or sign up here.)