Strategies for Getting Kids off Devices
Parents know the scenario all too well – your child is glued to one of many episodes of their favorite show on a tablet or they’ve advanced far into the video game they’re playing with no end in sight. The moment you tell them it’s time to stop what they’re doing, the tantrum starts. Regardless of how many times you do this dance with your kids, it just doesn’t seem to get any easier. The good news is the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has some guidelines around screen time that you can use to try to minimize conflict.
Have another activity lined up
Putting a halt to an activity and transitioning to another can be difficult without ending in a temper tantrum. By talking to your kids beforehand and letting them know what to expect once their screen time is finished it can help ease the transition. This way it helps keep them occupied and takes their mind off their previous activity.
Use visual and sound cues to help kids keep track of time limits
If your kid is too young to tell time, a good way to help them keep track of time is by using a timer. Whether it be an app, on a tablet or phone, or even a voice assistant, a visual or sound cue can help let them know when their time is up.
Tell kids to stop at a natural break, such as the end of an episode, level, or activity
When we’re in the middle of something, it’s never easy to just stop and move on. This can certainly be said if your kid is in the middle of watching a video or even playing. A good tip is to discuss what they will be doing, what will be a good place to stop, and how long they think it’ll take. When setting a limit, do it together and if you’re feeling generous, feel free to leave a little wiggle room.
Discuss consequences and follow through when kids test the limits
If any of the above still doesn’t help, then it’s important to discuss the consequences if your kid doesn’t oblige. This can be something like not allowing anymore device use for the remainder of the day if they aren’t willing to turn off their device. In the end, setting expectations and enforcing them can help teach responsibility and pave the way for healthy screen time habits.
Do you currently practice any of these tips? Let us know how they are working out for you in the comments below!