Children born today will not know a life without their devices.
Screen Addiction is the symptom, not the root cause. The root cause is the loss of connection.
How many of us experience that moment of extreme tension when getting our children to come off their devices?
These apps are designed to be addictive, that is the motivation of a lot of the designers. Not all games are designed this way but a lot of them are. So what do we do as loving parents to support our children and more importantly to support ourselves to deal with this challenge?
Well primarily we have to resource ourselves fully to be the best parents we can be. This is easy to say of course but more tricky in practice. It is one thing to intend to look after ourselves but when we actually want to instil well being practises into our moment to moment existence this is another thing and a life long journey. Being a role model for our children is the best way to go, showing them how to look after themselves.
Here are some of Jennifer Pidgeon from Let’s Connect and Feel Better’s tips for parents when dealing with screen-addicted children:
These 4 tools are for the “point of taking them off” their device:
1. Have a fun distraction ready
2. Give your child pre-warning to transition, make eye contact with them (5 minutes left)
3. Remain calm and prepare your self to connect with your child
4. Phone a friend to listen to you beforehand or during this transition
These 5 tools are for the “longterm preparation” on how to manage Screen Addiction generally:
1. Build a connection
2. Prepare friends who you can phone.
3. Have a fun distraction prepared
4. Make sure you’ve had a fulfilled day
5. Set limit beforehand and reach out
In regards to where and when your child has their device, I find just setting a simple time limit very helpful. This will be different for every family to fit with how everyone moves throughout their day.
For example, I aim to get my daughter off her IPad by 8 pm on weekdays and by 9 pm on weekends, this is different when she is at her grandparents for example or with her friends. Through lockdown, these limits went out the window completely for obvious reasons which meant chaos for both of us.
Generally now by eight, I am trying to lure her off her IPad. At 8 pm I begin to connect more with my daughter. I offer her a snack or dinner if we haven’t had it yet. Tell her about what I’m doing and I also remind her that it’s time to come off her IPad. I try not to be physical because this has not worked out well in the past. Sometimes when she is very fixated I will go for a mini walk to calm me down more before setting the limit, for those with little ones this may not be feasible.
Jen is a parenting expert, healer and entrepreneur. She started Let’s Connect and Feel Better with the intention to empower all to connect on a deeper more profound level. With their children, family and ultimately themselves.
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