With increasing frequency we see younger children and even babies frantically needing a tablet screen or a mobile to be "calm."
The new generation is said to be born with this amazing 'ability' to quickly learn to handle new technologies. The problem is that they exert an almost hypnotic power. Their attractiveness leads to increasing dependency. Until dependence turns into addiction. We explain how to help a child with a tablet or mobile addiction.
It is true that at certain times it can be of great help to give young children a mobile device so that they can entertain themselves in a waiting room, at an adult meeting or simply while Mom prepares the food ... the problem is that from there to this becomes an almost permanent need for them to be happy, there is only one step.
Each time they begin to ask for it more and more and if it is not delivered can be really upset being unable to entertain themselves with anything else.
There are parents who cannot detect these situations in time, since unfortunately they are immersed in their own addiction to screens and because it is a way to keep their children happy and entertained.
Here are some behaviors that let us know that it is time to stop the situation:
- They are moody and irritable when they don't have a mobile device and magically calm down when it reaches their hands.
- Some daily activities are disturbed such as mealtime or bedtime due to your need to play with them.
- They look for any time to take the device without being seen and may lie if asked if they have used it.
- They stop enjoying activities that they used to like very much like painting, making crafts, outdoor games, etc; and all the time they long to be allowed to play with their mobile or tablet.
- They become uninterested in playing or socializing with other children at times when they might, asking to play with their screen.
How can we prevent this situation from continuing to grow and turn into a real nightmare? Here are some tips to try to solve this excessive dependence of children on tablets, mobile phones or video games:
- Join him: We cannot expect our young children to disengage from mobile devices if we cannot; So this is a great opportunity for you too, to enjoy the moments with him much more and to bring out the creativity that you have inside. Remember that they will only be children for a short time ... enjoy them.
- Anticipate what is to come: It is important that you let him know how things will be from now on, it is not necessary to use phrases like "Never again" or "It's over forever"….
You can calmly explain to him that he will no longer play with the tablet so much, or that he will no longer be able to use mom and dad's cell phone as often. It is not necessary that you give long explanations about the reason for the decision; very young children still won't understand it, no matter how convincing you are. Instead of that, you can tell him that they have decided what is best for him, because there are more fun things you can play with.
- Pick a good time: Young children typically play with devices more when they are at home, so you can look for a weekend where they will have fun outdoor activities and lots of stimulation to let them know the new rules.
- Put new materials that can be fun within reach and help him choose alternatives: Posters, paints, modeling clay, building blocks and fun things that he can entertain himself in times that he normally used to play with the devices. If, for example, he was very used to looking at the tablet during lunch, make up games with clapping, songs or riddles that help him not to think about it. You can also read and act out stories to him, which he will surely enjoy and will lay the foundations for him to develop a taste for reading in the future.
- Remove the temptation from the front: Obviously if the child has the tablet or mobile at hand, it will be easier for him to feel the desire to play with it, so try to keep them out of his sight for a while.
- Do not scold or punish him if he is angry about the lack of the device: It is a fact that there will be times when he can be frustrated and angry about not having what he wants, give him time, tell him that you understand that he is angry and be open to helping him find new alternatives.
- Be patient: If you set clear limits, stand firm and help him get through the first few days that will be difficult, in no time he will not even think about it.
All children can be very happy and enjoy your days without having a mobile device in your hands that there will be a lot of time for that ...
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