“Can I have the iPad?”

“Can I have an iPad?”

“iPad! iPad!”

That was how our three kids woke us this morning. No “Good morning Daddy!” Not even a warning-of-impending-demand” I love you Daddy…” Then, Delilah, our 2 year-old turned off the alarm clock I use on my iPad, navigated to the folder where I keep “her stuff” and turned on the Play School app. I had just enough time to shake my head awake and unplug the device from the wall before she ran off with it.

The thing is, the iPad has become a part of our every day lives. I use it as my bedside clock, Kirsty uses it to order the shopping from Coles, we check email, play games, and send youtube, video and TV to our Apple TV with it.  When Gilbert wants to watch a re-run of Splat-A-Lot on iView we send him to a quiet part of the house with the iPad. Jigsaws require much less packing-up when Matilda constructs them on the device. Delilah loves to look at photos of herself, scrolling through the images with a casual flick of her finger.

How many iPads are too many? That’s a question for another post!

I’m not sure when I became comfortable with the kids carrying around (running around with?) a $500 device. I shake with terror whenever one of them picks up my iPhone, or plays with their very cheap digital camera, but feel 100% confident when they wander off with the iPad. Of course, the iPads all have fairly hefty covers which both keeps them safe and makes me feel better. From almost the first day the iPad was in the house we let the kids play with it, impressed upon them the need to be careful with it, but otherwise gave them the chance to prove themselves. It is a very easy device to use, which obviously helps, but so is a toilet and my kids still struggle to use that properly sometimes. There are some things we have to do, like make sure in-app purchases are turned off, and remind the kids not to hit that funny share button when they get a high score or make something neat. But otherwise, they use the iPad really well.

I love how responsible the kids are with the iPad. They always use it appropriately, carry it carefully, and use their apps and not ours. They have really surprised and impressed me. There is probably a lesson there for us as parents, giving kids opportunities and responsibilities. I’ll let you know when I learn it!

Finally, should you ever see a Facebook update about my latest My Little Pony colouring-in, it’s not mine. Honest.