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  • Andrea Dillon, LMSW

Peaceful Ways to Transition Kids/Teens from Screens

Crying, kicking, screaming, or saying “just wait till I’m done with this part” with an eye-roll…does this sound like your child or teen when you tell them it’s time to turn off screens? Many parents struggle with finding peaceful ways to get their kids off their phones and computers. Here are some suggestions that might help make it less of a struggle.


1. Take the pressure off of YOU! Before screen time begins, tell your child or teen how much time they have so they can prepare themselves. Maybe even set up a timer and once the timer goes off it’s time for screens to go off. Make the timer visible to your kiddo so he/she can check in on the time as well. It would be interesting to see if they do!


Setting a timer can give your kids a good visual of the time they have left on screens.

2. Give warnings. No matter who is saying time’s up (either you or the timer), it is super helpful to give a “heads up” to how much time is left. This can help build the child’s awareness and bring their attention back to the room.


3. Talk it out and join them. Screens can be…well… addicting to anyone (yes even adults). Our brains are in a whole different world when we are on our phone, whether it be in a convo with our bff, taking a tour with our favorite YouTuber, or defeating those pesky zombies in a dark abandoned house. Approaching your child/teen when they have a few minutes left and starting a conversation about their screen activity can help them re-enter the world around them while wrapping up their activity. It can be jolting for anyone to be engrossed in an activity and asked to just stop on a dime.


Approaching your child/teen when they have a few minutes left and starting a conversation about their screen activity can help them re-enter the world around them.

4. Be the example! This one is probably the hardest one.** If we expect our kids to get off screens the moment we tell them the first time or without finishing up what they are doing, we need to expect that of ourselves. We have all seen adults ignore their children while on their own phones finishing up a text message etc., yet deny their kids the same privilege and grace.)


Remember that trying these suggestions consistently and having conversations with your children/teens about changes in routine are important so they know what to expect. Don’t beat yourself up if these don’t work the first time. Consistency and getting into a rhythm are keys to parenting. Humans are creatures of habit at every age and stage. I hope these suggestions help spark new ideas around this subject!

Best Wishes,

Andrea Dillon

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