In honor of Prime Day, I thought I’d give a review of the Kindle Fire. They are sure to come on sale and you may be tempted to buy one or two for your kiddos. This article will be worth the read before you make that decision.
We’ve currently got 5 children under the age of ten. We have used both Ipads and Kindle Fires with our kids. I will be 100% honest with you, we no longer use tablets in this house. I truly preferred the Kindle when we were using tablets, the parent controls are so much simpler to use and set-up. I strongly recommend getting the Disney Circle to moderate your devices, but if you don’t have the Circle the native child controls on the Kindle Fire are really good. If you make the decision that tablets are right for your family, no judgment from me, I would recommend the Kindle over the Ipad.
Now I’m probably going to shot myself in the foot and talk myself out of any affiliate sales on a Kindle Fire if you keep reading. That’s okay with me though. I want to empower any parents out there that are struggling with the Tablet and Device debate with your children. It is fully possible to get rid of devices and still have children that are entertained long enough for you to get done what you need to.
When our first 2 kids were under the age of 4 we had two Ipads. They enjoyed using them all the time and would frequently throw tantrums when I took them away. We were planning on Homeschooling and I got swept up in what the other moms were doing and I felt like I HAD to have some sort of tablet for them. The Ipads were older and needed replacing and after much research I bought the Kindle Fires for them.
They enjoyed their educational programs. They had apps to encourage reading, bible study apps, and math apps. I told myself it was all okay because they only had educational content on their Kindles and they had auto-shut offs set up. They were trained to expect to use the Kindles within a certain window of time every day. They still stomped their feet and got angry when the Kindle’s would shut off. They whined and cried if we missed a day, and they begged bargained and tried to be sneaky to get more time.
We had meltdowns over the tablets on a regular basis at least once or twice a week and when you have more than one kid those really start to add up. We started down the path of minimalism and I regularly looked at the Kindle’s and thought about how much I disliked them. They caused anxiety in me. I tried instituting a system of fasting one day a week from technology and they were like little junkies going through withdrawals, it made me endlessly angry.
Then one Thanksgiving they broke their charge cords for the last time. I had already replaced them many times before and I was done. I told them I wouldn’t be spending any money until Christmas and maybe they’d get new chargers in their stockings. The next month was an interesting one. The first two weeks they were just awful and whined about the Kindle’s every single day at 1 pm and would throw down and cry until 2 pm when the Kindle’s would have turned off. Then all of the sudden they forgot about them. They realized they weren’t getting what they wanted and they moved on. They started playing with their toys more, building and laughing, working together and being kids.
Christmas came and I had the charge cords but I never gave them to the kids. We’ve been tablet free for 4 years now and it has been wonderful. We do have a Switch game system that they got for Christmas last year, but we practice not throwing fits when they are told to stop playing - how do we do that you ask? Jason will randomly tell them to stop for an undefined period of time. They might play for 3 minutes and be asked to stop for 20. They might play for 20 and be asked to stop for 5. It is random and if they throw a fit they don’t get to go back to it.
I am okay with the Switch because we had some strict guardrails in place from the very beginning and because they play together on it. It is a community thing and they invite friends over which feels less like they are isolating themselves and diving into technology without direction.
On occasion, they ask if they can get Kindle’s again but I tell them only the book readers not one with games and they are mostly disinterested in that idea.