But unfortunately, like their parents, they share our addiction.
Is it genetic? I’m not sure. I’m trying to remember if I’d exposed my wife to anything new and gadgety while she was pregnant with the last two (yes, they’re clones). Exposure, maybe? There are quite a few Wi-Fi devices in the house … maybe they got hit with some gamma rays or something? I don’t know, but whatever the case is, we find ourselves with little people who are just as fascinated and attracted to new gadgets as their parents, and I’ve come to the conclusion that trying to figure out how to share one thing between 2 little Einstein’s is an exercise in futility, at least in THIS house. A new toy, a new game, a new handheld anything … it’s terrible! So … what’s a parent to do? Depends on the parent. But the parents in THIS house survive by following these rules for the two that are here with us on a daily basis … like they live here or something …
1) Two of everything. That’s right … EVERYTHING. The thing is because we generally get two of everything, we don’t buy super-expensive things. Two iPads? Not on your life. But then we aren’t an Apple house, so that makes life a lot easier. Two Nabi’s cost as much as one iPad, and with Google’s app library, they’re just as happy. And the thing is pretty solid.
2) No 3DS, but a 2DS is more than doable. Two 2DS’s were a little more than one 3DS, but WAY cheaper than two 3DS’s. And they don’t have the 3D element. I’m not a fan of how Nintendo implemented 3D on the 3DS, so not having to deal with it was a bonus. Yeah, the screens are smaller, and they don’t fold, but they’re smaller and lighter, so we were happy with them and the Clones were more than satisfied.
3) Two kids with homework trying to use one computer can be a challenge. Fortunately, we have more than one computer in the house, not to mention tablets, so Internet issues aren’t that big of a deal. Sometimes all they need to do is look something up, which a tablet is perfect for. If they need to do something more like actually working on a document, an inexpensive laptop, say around $300, is perfect for that while the other uses the PC. The parents? Well … maybe two inexpensive laptops if you can swing it. Maybe look into Chromebooks for the little people.
4) There’s only one WiiU, but 99% of the games we get for it are for at least two players. They have to either play cooperatively or competitively, but they play together. Even 90% of their 2DS games are two-player via Wi-Fi connection, so if they want to play with or against each other they can.
5) They don’t touch the other systems. Daddy’s a gamer, but I don’t have games that they can play on the Xbox or the PlayStation. It’s not for them, and they don’t get to touch it. Hey, I have to have something to wind down with. Sometimes being a sniper and taking out a few aliens or an enemy from across a field is therapeutic. Nintendo makes great family games for the Wii, and we take advantage of them.
6) There are exceptions to the “two of everything”, and in those exceptions, they have to share. For instance, they play Skylanders and Disney’s Infinity, but they only have one of each character. They have to take turns if they both like a particular character for one of these games. Maybe it’s a twin thing, but because they don’t always have to share everything, they tend to be more willing to do so when they have to. They work it out with each other who gets to go first. Rock/Paper/Scissors has solved many a conflict.
7) Most importantly, they understand how fortunate they are to have these things. We explained to them not everyone has what they have, and the time they are able to spend with these things are earned and not to be taken for granted. WiiU time is only on the weekends. Tablets and 2DS privileges are for after school, housework and dinner is done. And as easily as they were given, they can (and have) be taken away. And when it’s warm, they go outside and play. Kids today are WAY more connected than I was at their age. The only thing I was connected to was a bike or a book. That still needs to have a place in a child’s life.
I know, this may not work in EVERY home, and believe me it took some time and pain to figure out the best way to deal with our two little super heroes. Our methods seem to be working; our oldest is away at college, the clones are consistently on the honor roll at school … it takes a lot of love, patience and prayer, and some how we make it through. Technology is a tool, and it should be used as such. Gadgets aren’t babysitters, and if you allow them to become that, you’re going to run into problems later on when you try and disconnect them from their virtual worlds. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think some little people need their behinds kicked on the WiiU …
Be Well …