It's easy to assume that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge must have it *so* much easier than most parents-of-three, thanks in large part to their nannies, household staff, and uh, the fact that they live in a literal palace. But it actually sounds like they might have more in common with the average mom and dad than you'd imagine. In fact, Kate Middleton and Prince William's "difficult" parenting predicament is one that pretty much all millennial parents can relate to, because, well, it turns out that even the future King of England loves to watch TV.
In a recent appearance at the BBC to promote Anti-Bullying Week, according to The Express, the duke and duchess revealed that, like most parents, they struggle to figure out boundaries around screen time, not only with their children, but for themselves, and their overall family life. In a discussion about social media and the influence of screens, Prince William said he and his wife "still haven't worked out what the right balance is for online time," and added,
We're all going to have that discussion with our family, "how on earth are we going to police and have family time when the phones are all put down and you're offline?" Because we're all so connected now that we've got to say, "right, for instance, we're eating now."
Though balancing on-and-offline life isn't a challenge specific to parenting (most of us, it seems, struggle to turn off our phones and gadgets), now that they have three children, it seems to have become even more evident to the couple that it's something that needs to be addressed. The prince explained,
This generation are going to be the first generation to grow up fully immersed in mobile phones, social media, lots of stuff. And yet our generation, the older generation, the parent generation, we're completely left at, "how do we deal with this? Where do we go to? Where do you learn about how to look after your children's digital world?"
From the sounds of it, Prince William and Duchess Kate mostly seem to be trying to allowing their children to have screen time in moderation — which, as many of us can likely attest, doesn't always go as smoothly as we may like it to. When the couple stopped by BBC's Radio 1 in April 2017, Prince William said that, like most parents, the bulk of their TV watching time these days is spent watching kids' programs, like British favorites Fireman Sam and Peppa Pig, and at a visit to the Royal Marsden Hospital one month later, according to People, the prince also revealed that his son, Prince George, happens to be "engrossed" with his Nintendo DS, and that he has a hard time tearing him away from it.
One thing the couple has reportedly put a firm limit on though, according to Us Weekly is iPad usage. In December 2017, the magazine cited royal sources as saying that neither Prince William nor Duchess Kate likes the idea of letting their children play with tablets, and that they instead try to encourage them to play outside, or to play will dolls and blocks, and other imaginative toys. And given the close relationship the duke and duchess have with her parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, Us Weekly also reported that the young royals often spend weekends with their grandparents, too.
Unless you've sworn off screen time completely, then Prince William and Middleton's dilemma is probably one you also struggle with, but though there are all sorts of variables that may determine how much screen time you allow, the American Association of Pediatrics does at least offer a guideline for parents when it comes to setting boundaries around screens.
The AAP recommends, for example, that all screen time — with the exception of video chatting — be avoided for kids under the age of 18 months, and that between the ages of 18 and 24 months, parents only allow high-quality programming that is supervised at all times. As for kids 2 and older, like Princess Charlotte and Prince George? The AAP recommends 1 hour or less per day, and that families keep certain times — like dinner — "media-free times," while bedrooms should be considered "media-free rooms."
Although most parents would probably agree that their families could do a better job at decreasing the amount of time they spend on their phones, iPads, or in front of the TV, it's also a really common struggle when you're a busy parent of young kids and just want a little downtime. At the same time, any attempt to unplug is better than nothing. And honestly? It *is* at least pretty reassuring to know that even the royals have a hard time turning off Peppa Pig sometimes.