How do we enforce sharing and the time limits on screens without huge arguments?

Your Question

We got our sons an iPad to share for Christmas. We thought that having one would help with managing screen time but we are finding it hard to address rules without having a screaming match. How do we enforce sharing and the time limits on screens without huge arguments?


Hi there,

Thank you for getting in touch with Ask Robyn.

This is a common area of tension and arguments in many households, so first of all know that you are not alone and you have not done anything wrong in purchasing an iPad for your children for Christmas. iPad and technology can have many positive uses for children and young people, such as access to books and a way of supporting their learning development. There are many apps that can support reading and other skills, you may find it helpful to research some of these yourself as some may have additional fees to gain full access. Some examples include Khan academy, Duolingo, and Reading Eggs.  

One of the toughest parts of being a parent is enforcing rules and boundaries. It is part of the job, and it is not always faced with the warm welcome we would like. Know that your children may fight back with rules that you enforce, but it is important that you respond in a calm, respectful way. Acknowledge their frustration and calmly remind them of the rule. Consistency in rules is key so it may help to establish clear rules, so the children know what they are and are not allowed e.g. 10 minutes of screen time after or before dinner. It may also help to establish a schedule of who gets the use the iPad on certain times each day to help reduce fights. Sharing is an important skill for children to learn and this can help with developing that skill.

There are ways to enforce screen limits in your iPad’s settings, this differs for iPads depending on when they were made so you can search this within your own iPad to ensure you are following the correct instructions. You are right in thinking a screen time limit is necessary and you can find more information on this from the HSE:’s,an%20activity%20to%20occupy%20them.

Depending on what your children have access to and their age you may also need to have a conversation of ensuring they are safe online. We have plenty of information for this on our website if you wish to find out more:

Along with some articles on our website you may find helpful:

We hope you have found this helpful. You may wish to talk about this in more detail and you can contact ISPCC’s Support Line which can be contacted by email to [email protected] or by phone from Monday to Friday 9am – 1pm on 01 522 4300 

Take care,  


Ask us a question

You can ask us about anything you want, there’s nothing too big or small.