The urge to smash our children's iPads is not unusual

Are We There Yet? 'I have a certain amount of sympathy for Kirstie Allsopp' - The TV presenter revealed she smashed her children's iPad

“I can understand where that urge to annihilate devices comes from in parents.” Photograph: iStock

“I can understand where that urge to annihilate devices comes from in parents.” Photograph: iStock

 

I have a certain amount of sympathy for Kirstie Allsopp. The Location Location Location presenter experienced a wave of outrage this week when she revealed she had smashed her children’s iPads because they weren’t playing by her and her husband’s screentime rules.

I’m not saying I’d destroy an iPad myself exactly. They’re too expensive, for starters, and I have an aversion to smashed screens – all that splintered glass. But I can understand where that desire to annihilate devices comes from in parents.

If we’re really honest the urge to smash, hide or fling children’s electronic devices into the sea is not unusual. Apparently Allsopp’s children were playing video games such as Fortnite, which so far I’ve managed to escape but I know instinctively would drive me up the walls.

My daughters were in bed fast asleep the other night – or so I thought – when I decided to check on them. I like to look at them when they are sleeping – lost in dreams, cheeks faintly pink and damp with warmth. It reminds me of a time when they were babies and unable to give out to me for not making the “right” sandwiches for their lunchboxes.

I tell my children the names of buildings around town and we laugh our heads off at Butt Bridge

Anyway, they weren’t asleep. They were huddled up together under a duvet with the iPad watching some white-toothed American teenager talk about slime.

I didn’t smash the iPad but in that moment I know how Allsopp felt. And as annoyed as I was with them I was also annoyed with myself. This was not part of my aspirational parenting plan.

The plan was that my children would fall asleep nose pressed to a book. The plan was also to take them to the National Gallery regularly and stand in front of a Caravaggio, marvelling at the brush strokes. The plan was that by now they’d be able to name all the statues in St Stephen’s Green.

The plan was that they’d be playing chess and backgammon and be interested in art and ask questions about culture. Instead, when I suggest any kind of outing the first question is “Mum, is this educational?” delivered in a highly suspicious tone.

So I try this cultural education thing by stealth. I play Nina Cried Power by Hozier loud in the kitchen until they’ve made up a dance routine and learned about amazing Mavis Staples. Their uncle teaches them to recite The Song of Wandering Angus by Yeats and to sing Sweet Thing by Van Morrison. I tell them the names of buildings and landmarks around town and we laugh our heads off at Butt Bridge.

But it’s a constant battle, it has to be said. Handily, Culture Night arrives on Friday, September 21st, to entice your kids away from screens.

Yes, it’s educational but most of the events sound like so much fun, they’ll never suspect a thing.

HERE ARE SOME FAMILY HIGHLIGHTS FROM CULTURE NIGHT ON FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 21st ...

DUBLIN

Brown Bag Films, 5pm-9pm: Unit 20, Block C, Smithfield Market, D7
Twice Oscar-nominated Brown Bag Films, one of the world’s leading animation studios, will be hosting some family-friendly workshops and activities in their Dublin space led by their very own Emmy Award-winning episodic director Mårten Jönmark. Learn about the storyboarding process and join in on some epic doodling fun! Suitable for children aged 5-12. Booking required, please see website for details.

A History of Dublin for Children, 5.30pm: Outside Smock Alley Theatre, Cow’s Lane, D8
Join Humpty Dumpty for nursery rhymes and stories from auld Dublin. You’ll hear all about what life was like for children over roughly 1,100 years of Dublin’s history. Viking kids and modern kids welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 60 mins.

Taking Flight: Education & Performance, 4.30pm-10pm: Unit 4, Cross Guns Business Park, Phibsborough, D7
Taking Flight provides quality circus arts education to learners of all ages and abilities. Parents, grandparents, and children alike are invited to take part in family circus workshops in aerial movement, acrobatics, and other circus disciplines from 5pm-7pm, followed by circus arts performances at 7.30pm and 9pm. Proceeds in aid of the Gaza Women’s Circus Project.

Aerial Cirque, 5pm-9pm: 10 Exchequer Street, D2
Aerial Cirque is a home for budding and professional aerialists. In their gorgeous studio, they will be hosting two 50-minute child and parent cocoon workshops at 5pm and 6pm. From 7pm-9pm the studio will be open to the public to come watch aerial students practise their skills. Book workshop spots via website.

Alliance Française, 6pm-10pm: 1 Kildare Street, D2
Check out some unmissable family events at the Alliance Française. Bring your team to the library for the multimedia treasure hunt from 6pm to 8pm for a chance to win goodies and prizes, before heading to the building’s French restaurant for a concert by folk-pop group Alcaz. The restaurant will be open serving treats and drinks for guests to enjoy.

Engineers Ireland, 6pm-7.30pm: 22 Clyde Rd, Ballsbridge, D4
Engineers Ireland, one of Ireland’s largest and oldest professional bodies, will be providing a hands-on family workshop incorporating elements of Stem and the arts for all to enjoy. Learn about the many disciplines of engineering and the work of Engineers Ireland in a fun and welcoming atmosphere through a number of interactive sessions running all evening. The workshop will be held in collaboration with Gaiety School of Acting.

DLR Mill Theatre Dundrum 5pm-10pm: Dundrum Town Centre, Sandyford Rd, D16
The theatre will open its doors again this year for a wide range of events for the whole family to enjoy, taking place throughout the venue. Enjoy live music in the bar, view the Print Exhibition in the gallery, and for younger audiences, a Roald Dahl Drama Workshop in the studio.

Light House Cinema 4pm-9.30pm: Market Square, Smithfield, D7
One of Dublin’s most exciting cinemas welcomes all the family to a very special sing-along screening of the year’s biggest, most spectacular musical, The Greatest Showman. Lyrics will be provided on screen – all you have to worry about is the singing and dancing.

RTÉ Lyric FM live @ The Chester Beatty, 4pm-10pm: Address Dublin Castle, Dublin 2
Come view a range of exceptional and exotic treasures at one of the city’s most popular museums. Join Lorcan Murray’s Classic Drive for a live RTÉ Lyric FM broadcast celebrating the collection in music and speech with special guests. Take a free guided tour, avail of a workshop or pick up a family activity pack. The gift shop and Silk Road Cafe will be open for the evening.

Dance Theatre of Ireland, 6pm-9.30pm: Bloomfield’s Centre, Lower Georges St, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin
Ready to dance the night away? Take part in an evening of free taster classes at Dance Theatre Ireland’s studios. Encompassing a number of exciting styles from hip-hop to modern dance, salsa, Zumba, jazz, and more, there’s something for all ages – from a dance class tailored for guests over 60 to lessons for all the family to enjoy together.

Gaiety School of Acting, 6pm-11pm: Essex Street West, D8
Sample some of the eclectic theatrical treats the school has on offer throughout the year! Kids can choose between musical theatre or acting for ages 4-11 and there’s acting for camera for ages 12-18. Adults can try out stage combat or an introduction to acting, and the whole family can take in the on-street Dramathon taking place throughout the night.

Irish Film Institute (IFI), 6pm-8.30pm: 6 Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Get ready for the annual dive into the collections of the IFI Irish Film Archive. Enjoy three programmes of family-friendly Irish shorts, dating from the 1940s to the present day. Take a whistle-stop tour through the history of short film production in Ireland, and view newsreels, animations, dramas, and public information films.

Malahide Castle & Gardens, 4pm-7pm: Malahide, Co Dublin
Visit the fabulous castle and gardens, an internationally award-winning visitor attraction. Once owned by the Talbot Family, the castle’s friendly and passionate guides take great pleasure in retelling the story of the Talbots at Malahide, from the Oak Room to the Great Hall – not forgetting the castle’s five known ghostly residents. Booking essential via castle website.

KILDARE

Deadlines and More Deadlines!, 8pm: The Meeting House Ballitore, Athy
Griese Youth Theatre presents Forty-Five Minutes by Anya Reiss, a play about exam deadlines, hopes and fears. Followed by a post-show discussion and study tips. A great play to be enjoyed by all the family.

SLIGO

Baby Culture Night With Branar, 5pm-10pm: Hawk’s Well Theatre, Temple Street & The Model Niland, The Mall
A breakthrough space encouraging child-directed free play, enabling children and their families to have hours of fun as they imagine, invent, build and play. Facilitated through the Irish and English language across two Sligo venues.

CARLOW

Bilingular Tour and Explore!, 4pm: Carlow County Museum
Carlow County Museum will have a free family-friendly, interactive, bilingual tour of Ireland’s newest local authority museum featuring a temporary exhibition on St Willibrord, the patron saint of Luxembourg. Families can complete a quiz as they visit the galleries, identify mystery objects and handle some artefacts – as well as get ideas for hundreds more questions to ask parents and grandparents.

TIPPERARY

Drumming Workshop 5.30pm-6.30pm: 8.15-9pm, The Plaza, Main Street, Cashel
Grab a drum and find your inner rhythm with Jabba Jabba Jembe drumming group. A great family activity, open to all, kids, parents, grandparents alike. Experience the excitement, energy and satisfaction of making music in the moment together at these energy-packed interactive workshops.

DONEGAL

The Temper Tantrums, 7pm: An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny
Following on from the success of his solo show, Little Folk: On Tour, Kyle Riley is back and bringing the band The Temper Tantrums. The Sing to Me tour features original songs, some traditional children’s music and a little something for the adults, too. It’s an hour of folk and rock music, sure to get you moving. For your under-8s, your rock toddlers and the little boppers in between, it’s fun for the whole family.

ROSCOMMON

Engage, Express, Explore: Intercultural Evening, 5pm: Roscommon Arts Centre
Roscommon Women’s Network in association with Roscommon County Council. An evening of theatre, music and dance. There will be a mix of Irish dancing and the Brazilian Capoeira martial arts, the melodic jazz sounds of a local Slovakian family band and a newly devised theatre piece developed around the themes of displacement, the concept of home, belonging and your community.

CORK

Pitch’d Circus Arts Festival, 7pm; 9pm; 10pm: Cornmarket Street
Join Pitch’d Circus Arts Festival for a night when the city comes alive. Join us at 7pm on Skiddy’s Plaza for Street Performances. See Community Fire and Circus Show at 9pm or watch Inferno’s FireStorm at 10pm, both on Cornmark Street. Check out pitchdfestival.ie for full festival details.

WICKLOW

Run Away with the Circus, 4pm- 5pm: Tinahely Courthouse Arts Centre
Katie Holmes and Emily Aoibheann are set to wow the crowd with aerial tricks, dance, movement, poetry and more. They teach and train contemporary circus movement practices in Creation Aerial.

LIMERICK

The Pigtown Parade, 8pm-9pm: Cruises Street, Chapel Street, Denmark Street
Similar to last year but bigger. Pig Float, other floats to include, live piglets, brass band, school children with pig-themed arts and crafts. We want this year’s parade to be bigger and better than last year’s. We will have more schools involved, and encouraging families to get involved by making the parade a colourful pig-themed mini festival.

BELFAST

Clay Play, 7- 9.30pm: PS2, Spencer House, 69- 71 Royal Avenue
Clay is full of creative potential. You can form, shape or kick this sticky material into whatever form you imagine, sculpt small objects or throw – with the assistance of experts – small magic cups, bulging vases or tiny rings.

Illuminating Chemistry, 7pm-10pm: Writers Square
Volunteers from the local section of The Royal Society of Chemistry will be giving out free glow sticks to members of the public. Find out how this wonderful chemical reaction happens, in a 60-second enlightening chat with one of the friendly chemists on hand. After having this illuminating chat, you can be the bright spark at this year’s event.

Family Fun at Start360, 3pm-6pm: 6-10 William Street
Take part in a wide range of family fun activities – including arts and crafts, and a 4pm appearance from local celebrity balloon modeller Ryan Tracey of Duff Balloons (as seen on Britain’s Got Talent, Blue Peter and Ninja Warrior).

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