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Technology And Tantrums: Your Parenting Survival Guide

by Belinda @ The Resource Kit (follow)
Belinda Webb Behaviour Consultant @ The Resource Kit www.theresourcekit.com.au
Parenting Tips (83)      Family Entertainment (11)     
9 tips to beat those technology tantrums!

Envision this: a picture of a child happily watching something on a iPad, computer or TV.

Are they are quiet? Check. Are they content? Check. Are they sitting still and not running around destroying everything in sight? Check!

Sounds perfect, right?

Unfortunately, at some stage all good things must come to an end and more often than not, the perfect end to the use of this technology is often quiet shaky on the dismount, and quite frankly it's most parent’s worst nightmare!

You slowly approach your child and tell them that the device is finished and you wait for the atomic bomb of temper, tantrums and that dreaded ‘NOOOOO’!

What then usually starts is one of a few things. They either start to run, they hide, they start to scream, they clutch that device so tight, or frankly, they start to lose their ‘S#%T’ and we haven’t even finished the damn thing yet.

So do we give up now? Throw in the towel and walk away? Although this seems tempting, by taking this option, this will most definitely lead to greater, more terrible technology tantrums in the future.

So I’m asking you to hang in there, keep your cool, stand your ground, and keep reading to find out 9 simple solutions to kicking those time-wasting technology tantrums.

OK, are you READY? Take a deep breath... let’s do this!

1. Set boundaries, rules and expectations with technology use.

With this simple step, you can create an expectation around the use of technology. This builds understanding around how your child uses technology and will be less likely to result in a tantrum when it ends.

For example, set goals that your child must achieve before the use of technology and set a timer for its use, or limit their time. Give verbal time frame directions when they get the device, ‘only 5 minutes' or 'one game only'.

Be in control of the technology so that if they want it, they have to ask you to use it, however sometimes the answer can be ‘No’. Just because they ask for it, this doesn’t mean they always have to have it. This also builds the understanding that we don’t always get what we want.

2. Give them an indicator that it’s about to finish.

For some children, this could be a verbal countdown as simple as "You’ve got two minutes left", or "At the end of that show we are turning it off". Other options can be a visual reminder, either written on a whiteboard, blackboard or piece of paper, a sand or egg timer, or a sticker/velcro chart to count down the time before finishing.

Why is this important? Imagine you are watching your favourite TV series final episode. One minute out from the nail biting, edge of your seat, spectacular finish, your spouse turns the TV off and says "That’s enough, it's finished!" How do you feel? You’re an adult, right? You will cope. NOPE! You feel, angry, blood boiling, full of rage and panic sets in as you scramble around to find the remote to turn it back on (or consider throwing it at their head) and frankly you are about to lose your flipping mind.

Imagine how our kids react when we don’t give them enough, reasonable time to process the finish or end to any activity (importantly technology). So be reasonable, understanding and give them warning.

3. If you are using it for educational purposes or kids games, then why not play a game together?

This way, you can control what they are doing whilst still letting them be immersed in it for a bit.

4. Try to refrain from withholding technology as a punishment for problem behaviour.

This just creates resentment towards you, and negative and angry feelings towards the fact they can’t have the device. As a result, this will be more likely to result in negative thoughts or actions next time their turn is up on the device.

5. Have a designated ‘finished’ spot for devices. This could be a cupboard or a box that can be closed, out of sight or out of reach.

For some children, a box or bag to help with the process of ‘my device has finished, its packed away and safe’ can really help. This can also be used to help your child finish their item, by getting them or helping them to safely pack it away, where they know where it is and that you’re not going to throw it in the bin on them.

Which brings me to my next tip.

6. Don’t threaten to throw it out, take it or give it away.

Again just like the withholding the item or using it as a punishment, this creates unnecessary anxiety, stress and negative feelings towards the device and that’s just not nice to for anyone.

7. Provide other stimulating activities for your children to do.

Your children can be just as quiet playing a game of playdough, trains, trucks or dolls in their bedroom. So if it's quiet time you are after, introduce these activities in the afternoon where you encourage quiet play, and not revert straight to the iPad or TV. Again, if you're going out to a restaurant, plan ahead. Take some activities or items with you that you know will keep them engaged and try to use the phone as a last resort.

8. remember what YOUR childhood was like.

Make daisy chains, make a wish on a dandelion, build a BMX bike jump, make a swing, build a cubby house, play chasey or hide and seek, make a mud painting, roll around in the grass, collect leaves, imagine you are pirates, princesses or animals and show them how to be a kid, or at the very least how much fun you had as a kid WITHOUT technology!

No money needed, just a little time, love and effort!

9. It's ok for children to be a little bored every now and then.

This won’t hurt anyone and allows children to build skills in thinking, being creative and developing well rounded little personalities.

Happy playing!

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#Parenting Tips
#Family Entertainment

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