Boys looking at smartphone

There is a place for phones in terms of children having them. They are great when your child is out and about with their friends or another family on a playdate They provide peace of mind and security for both parents and children alike.

There are also some excellent apps for your child that are educational and phones are also great to listen to music on. So multi-functional!

However, there is a downside to smartphones as we are used to having them around and on so many playdates children are using them as a source of entertainment. What happened to toys?!

I am happy for both my children using a phone or screen to play on at some point when they are having a playdate, but there have to be rules around it. Have you got rules around the screen and phone use during playdates?

Rules about smartphone use on playdates

Do you allow the playdate to bring their phone or screen over?

What do you do when they do?

How do you control its use and what they use it for?

Are parental controls set on their screen/phone too?

So much to think about. When you do have a playdate over you need to be clear what the rules of use are to both/all of the children and explain this is what you do in your house and you would like them to do the same. Tell them what you will allow them to play and for how long. It is best to do this when they walk in the door before they start playing.

Encourage them to play with real toys and be active first and suggest that the best time to play on phones is at the end of the date. It may be useful to have some ideas of what they could play before the other child/children arrive too. Once they are on their phones check in with them and the game – not intrusively more in a friendly manner. For example,  ‘Ah, are you playing x again. A great game…’

Finally if they don’t adhere to your house rules remind them again in a humorous way so they take the hint.

Let me know how you get on with imposing these rules on your next playdate!