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06th Jun 2019

Five simple ways to help break your children’s screen habit

Gillian Fitzpatrick

Look, there is no doubt whatsoever that an iPad, phone, TV, or laptop is a saving grace in parental times of need.

Because a round of Peppa Pig or Ben And Holly is a fantastic distraction that then allows you to actually get sh** done.

In short, when it comes to shoving an electronic device into your screaming child’s hands, there is less than no judging going on here.

However, most parents will also admit that too much of a good thing isn’t very good at all: yes, having your small ones glued to a screen is ill-advised.

BUT tearing them away from it is quite another matter.

Which is why HerFamily has put together five invaluable tips and tricks for implementing a digital detox for the entire household…

1) Ban screens from the bedroom

Not excuses and no exceptions – the brightness of screens messes with a child’s ability to fall and sleep and sleep soundly. This isn’t a mad-cow internet theory; it is proven. So your children’s bedrooms should be totally free of TVs, laptops and phones. Not to mention there are safety considerations too and you should be aware of what your child is accessing online and when.

2) Lead by example

There’s no pointing in shouting at the kids to switch-off if you spend most of your time on emails, or browsing social media. So lead by example; put your phone away (preferably in another room) to play with the kids, or sit down together for a meal.

3) Diversify

You can’t blame your kids for wanting to watch YouTube clips of people unwrapped and opening toys (seriously, WHAT is with that?) if the other options are a bit crap. So give your children a reason for wanting to switch off: a trip to the park; a game played together as a family; colouring and crafts, or baking. You know best what will tempt them away.

4) Put your foot down

You’re the parent in this situation – and even the most angelic kids will definitely kick up a fuss at some stage if you try to take their devices from them. We say let them tantrum, scream, and cry; but don’t give in. They’ll learn pretty quickly (the little darlings).

5) Talk to them

Radical, we know – but sitting down face-to-face and chatting to your child about their day, or reading through a book together is invaluable on a number of levels. Even under-twos love chit-chat. And while it mightn’t always feel like it, your love and attention is better than an iPad any day.