Kids Stuck to Screens
Q:I am a single mother of three kids aged 9, 11, 14. When my kids were younger I was always so busy working and trying to keep the house in order I would put on a video to keep them occupied while I got things done. Now I can't get them away from their phones and "devices," and I feel I am responsible for their constant attachment. I have tried to pull them away with time outs and restrictions. But it has become nearly impossible to enforce. What do I do? How do I detach them from this habit and get them to look up? Especially when I feel I have been partially responsible for creating this problem. --Joanne, 39
Dr. Anna: Rather than punishing them for spending too much time in front of screens—which doesn't seem to be working anyway—try scheduling in fun family activities. Put out a "cell phone basket" and model the behavior you want them to develop. Toss your phone in the basket and ask them to do the same. Then spend an hour or two playing board games, going for a walk, or having a meal together. Build up screen-free time on purpose and make it fun and rewarding for them.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.