Jenna Bush Hager says she and her husband, Henry, are 'very strict about technology'

A big part of parenting is setting boundaries and rules for your kids. As Jenna Bush Hager has come to find out, it also means trying — usually in vain — to get the grandparents on board with those boundaries and rules too.
"When they get up when they're with my parents on vacation, at like 5 in the morning, they sneak into their rooms and they can watch whatever they want on my parents' iPads," the Today With Hoda & Jenna co-host tells Yahoo Life when asked about how her parents, former President George W. Bush and former FLOTUS Laura Bush, indulge her three kids. "And I'm like, 'That's not a rule here!' But also, at like 2 months, my mom fed our kids ice cream. And I was like, 'You're not gonna have to change that diaper, you know?'"
Grandparents aside, the TV personality and her husband, Henry Hager, are otherwise "very strict about technology" when it comes to their kids, 9-year-old Mila, 7-year-old Poppy and 3-year-old Hal. Using devices for "learning purposes" — for instance, homework or to read a downloadable story such as The Wonderful World of Blue, the free children's e-book she has just collaborated on with Dawn — is OK, but anything else is off-limits.

Video Transcript

JENNA BUSH HAGER: I can be strict, but I'm also kind of the embarrassing mom who likes to use humor to kind of make situations a little bit chiller. But I love being a mom. It was what I've always dreamed of. To get to be with my little kids as much as possible is a dream come true.


Like a lot of moms, I'm juggling both, work and parenting. Friday mornings, Hal is always very confused. He's like, did you stop working? And I'm like, just for this Friday. And then he'll ask the same question the next Friday.

I want them to know that you can do both. It doesn't always look perfect or even good, but I want them to know that you can have a career that fulfills you, and you can also love the kids that you have. There's no way I could do the job that I do without my husband backing me up and supporting me. And I hope he would say vice versa.

I think that we're in a time when moms need dads to be equal partners. My husband is incredible. And actually getting through the pandemic together, we were both working from home. I was doing the "Today" show from my kitchen. We had no child care, three kids. Our youngest was six months.

He told his boss, you know, Jenna has to do the show, I'm going to get my kids on Zoom school, and then I'll start my day. And I just think that says everything about him.

We're very strict about technology. We let our kids use it for learning purposes. I'm OK with my kids doing their homework, but they will not be having social media or their own phones until eighth grade.

I think technology can be incredible for learning and for growing. But when they're with my parents on vacation, like 5:00 in the morning, they sneak into their rooms, and they can watch whatever they want on my parents' iPads. And I'm like, that's not our rule here.

My parents as grandparents, I mean, they've said that the only thing in life that is not overrated is being a grandparent. You know, there's something almost evolutionary about it, how much you love those little grandbabies. And my kids are always so happy when they're with them.

As a mom, but also as a former reading teacher and as the daughter of a librarian and also Barbara Bush, who had a pillow that said "Reading Is Sexy," my husband and I read every single night. So that's what my kids see. They see us in bed reading. And so it's something they want to do too.

"The Wonderful World of Blue" is all about how kids, like my kids, can be wildlife superheroes. In a world where we know we need to stand up and do something for our beautiful planet, it means everything about making sure our kids know that they can be empowered to change the world. And that's why when Don said, do you want to write this book with us, do you want to be part of this initiative, I raised my hand right away.

Biggest parenting challenge right now-- I mean, I'm in a good stage right now. I should knock on wood because I know that's going to change. Our bedtime routines, which have been messed up or really solid. Everybody's potty trained. Everybody's sleeping through the night. We're in a good stage. I mean, we really are. Ask me next week, and I'm sure there'll be something.