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Best Tablets and Tablet Accessories for Kids
It can be difficult to separate a device from a child when the time comes to put it away. They may cry, argue, and even try to bribe you. Admittedly not all screen time is created equal, and active screen time may be conducive to developing social and cognitive skills, as reported in a 2021 study by Lawrence and Choe. However, it is essential to remember that too much time spent on devices may deprive our children of precious time spent enjoying the physical world.
Should you find yourself struggling with your child around this issue, do not worry. We have all been there.
Be specific about your reasons and expectation of their time usage on and off-screen. Speak with a calm voice, even if you are frustrated.
In our household, for example, the children get thirty minutes of screentime for one hour spent outside. Knowing that eventually they will have the tablet or phone back will help them develop a familiarity with delayed gratification and make the pause “digestible.”
When you take the device away, offer the child something else to do, preferably involving you. This can help divert their attention from the device and increase quality time.
If you give in, they will continue to argue and cry. Remember, you are not negotiating. Also, the power struggle will shift once the routine is well established.
It’s possible that taking away the device from your child will result in a tantrum. Check out our blog Useful Tools to Help Parents Deal with Tricky Moments with Kids for tips on how to manage tantrums effectively.
Once you have taken the device away from the child, put it in a safe place where they cannot reach it. This will help to prevent any temptation.
All the above tips will be more effective if you model the behavior you expect your children to exhibit.
We should acknowledge that expecting children to self-regulate their screen time is in most cases unrealistic. Setting a good example and implementing the above tips with patience, love, and empathy will help you and your children have a healthier relationship with devices.
Lawrence, A., & Choe, D. E. (2021). Mobile media and young children’s cognitive skills: A review. Academic Pediatrics, 6, 996–1000.