Similar to many families, we recently began limiting our son Max’s iPad time to one hour per day. This is what research shows is optimal. I’m not sure what he’s doing on that thing, but that seems less relevant than the amount of time his eyes are fixed on the screen. Studies show that the retina can be destroyed after only one hour per day*. That’s astonishing. We firmly believe that children should be controlled – otherwise they may not seek human interaction and physical play at all. As I sit here typing this he has interrupted me twice, to ask if I will talk about WWII airplanes with him, or go outside and run his remote controlled plane with him. Geez, what do these kids think their parents are made of these days, time? Thankfully, I checked the stopwatch on my cell phone (this thing is great!) and tell him that he still has a half hour left of screen time, which I know he loves, so please go use that while I finish up my work.
So, inspired by our success in limiting screen time for Max, our family has decided to limit other activities. Wow, this really makes our days easier.
Max. Max is eight and in addition to his screen time, he gets one hour of knife-play time in his room per day. He does have a few cuts, but they are minor. Sometimes he needs help with the bandages, but I limit my time helping him with this to two minutes unless he needs to go to the hospital when obviously more time is given.
Grandma. Grandma takes about five minutes to walk up our flight of stairs. We have decided that she should only take two minutes to make it to the top. Studies show that faster movement in older people is better for cardiovascular and joint health. (*?) My very creative son did find a moving stair chair (a stairlift, he calls it – where do these kids get their information?) that would cut this time in half, to one minute, so we may install it and have grandma get her hip health from another activity.
Clair. Clair is 15 and we have decided ten minutes to put on her makeup every morning is optimal. Any more time than that and that fixed gaze at yourself so close to a mirror is not good for the retinas. And it goes without saying that any more than ten minutes of putting on makeup may attract the wrong crowd. So ten minutes and no more. We are still discussing whether to add ten minutes extra for prom, but aren’t able to find the studies on this yet. If we add the ten, it will probably include hair. Because any more than five minutes on hair, well, you know what good hair leads to….
Bob. My husband Bob is very hardworking and has his mind in the right place usually. But we have, together, decided that 20 minutes in the bathroom is plenty. Once his business is done, we don’t want any unneeded attention on other things that are not me, if you know what I mean.
Well, there you have it. I guess there’s always our dog Buster, but he is a bit of a lost cause. He takes about five minutes to decide where he wants to poop, so we are trying to cut that down to four, but honestly, we are out of doggy treats.
*Or something like that.