During the time I’ve used the iPad with my children, I’ve come up with a few ideas that help keep the iPad and my sanity.
Protecting your iPad
Screen protector – The first thing you should get your device is a screen protector, which is basically a thin film of clear plastic that covers your screen and protects it from scratches. There are many out there who wish they could have known this earlier. I use a Gecko protector, but there are others on the market and you can find them at most places that sell iPads.
Case – Get the case that is right for you. There are some great ones with built-in stands, but some of them make it easy for the iPad to slip out the side. I use a Gecko rubber case with no stand. It simply slips around the iPad and leaves the screen exposed. A stand would have been good, but this case suits my needs well as it is robust, cushions the odd impact (inevitable with small children) and generally stays on. It was the only cover I could get on the day I bought my iPad, but I have since bought other covers and keep coming back to this one.
Cleaning the screen – I have a microfibre cloth that I dampen slightly on one side. I use this side to wipe over the screen and the other side to polish. We do have a rule about clean hands, but it is amazing how much grime (i.e. sticky finger prints) seems to appear on the screen.
Timers – You have to remember I have just the one iPad and lots of kids wanting time on it. I use the oven timer in the kitchen to time their rationed use, and they only get to use it if certain criteria have been met (the ultimate carrot). They can have their turn on their own, or they might pool their time and do a longer activity with 2 or 3 together.
Limiting Apps – I’ve amassed quite a collection of Apps, but I try to restrict how many I have on the iPad to help steer them to the things I actually want them to do. Certain Apps only come out for holidays and special events.
Learn how to use restrictions – You can find restrictions in the Settings App. Set a password to access Restrictions that is different to your lock screen and don’t ever reveal it to your kids. Use the restrictions to limit use of web browsing and YouTube, and definitely turn off in-app
Protect your credit card – There are a couple of things you can do in the Restrictions Settings to prevent children from “accidentally” purchasing Apps or making in-app purchases.
Turn off the in-app purchases
Set the Require Password setting to immediately (and make sure the don’t know your iTunes password)