Thursday, April 18, 2024

How to Lessen Leaning on Screen with Youngers Kids

We know that most parents are concerned about the amount of time their children spend on devices and behind screens. It can be especially challenging in high-stress situations, as we often find ourselves turning to technology to help our kiddos calm down when feeling overwhelmed or in a challenging situation or environment. While it’s important to keep a balance between device time and other activities, having a toolbox for tough situations will make it much easier to help your child to better manage their big feelings.

Here are some non-screen ideas to help children to manage emotions:

Do something unexpected: Break the ice! Instead of trying to reason with your child or soothe them in traditional ways, take another route. You can ask them if they want to have a jumping race, a loud laughing contest, play hide & seek, or have a dance battle.

Play a brain game: Attempt to reach your child by redirecting their thoughts to a quick and simple brain game. For example: name 5 blue things, name 5 things you see, tell me your three favorite foods, etc. Helping them to make the shift from the emotional to the logical part of the brain can be especially helpful for a child (and for their parents) who is feeling overwhelmed.

Blow Bubbles: Activities involving breathing techniques can be hugely beneficial for helping children to self-regulate, especially in the case of younger kiddos. Breath work connects our left and right brain, so it’s a great tool to use in high-stress situations. You can blow bubbles in water together, play with bubble sticks, or even blow out candles.

Water Play: Water can be very soothing for children, and incorporating it into helping your child in these moments can have great (and very fun) results. Depending on the situation, some ideas are having a water balloon fight, mopping the kitchen floor, or making a rainbow with food coloring and wet paper towels.

Switch it up: While by no means is it easy to try and help your child calm down while also keeping calm yourself, it can be very powerful to make a drastic change in how you approach the situation. If you’re feeling frustrated, try giving them a big smile. If you notice your voice escalating, start to whisper. If you or your child are close to tears, try to let out a belly-laugh. This shift can work wonders for toddlers.

Music: Music is a very valuable resource for kiddos and adults alike, especially in regards to regulating our emotions. You can incorporate a meditation om chant to teach your child for these moments, put on instrumental music, or create a relaxing playlist along with your child to use when needed. 

Next time your child is struggling, try something new instead of reaching for the screen. 😊