How to get your kids off devices without a fight

helping kids listen parenting tips Feb 09, 2023
How to get your kids off devices without a fight

Do your kids get super engrossed when they are in front of devices or playing video games?  Do feel like a broken record, having to repeat yourself over and over again, issuing threats until your kids finally break away?  Many parents tell me that they have issues with getting their kids to listen, especially when they are on devices.

They think that their kids are ignoring them and choosing not to listen, but I invite you to consider that they might not hear you.

As a child, I loved to read mystery books.  I would get so wrapped up in them that the world around me would disappear.  My mom or dad could call me to come for dinner but their calls were only white noise in the background.  I would get in trouble for not listening or responding because they thought I was ignoring them.  But I wasn’t, I literally couldn’t hear them.  It wasn’t until they came to me and touched me, breaking my concentration, that brought me back to reality.  My family can attest that I still do this sometimes!

This may or may not be the case with your kids — but if they are deeply engrossed in a show or video game, there is a good chance they simply can’t hear you.  

The first step to peacefully getting your kids off devices is to actually go to where they are and sit next to them.  Take a minute to observe what it is that is so interesting to them and share their experience.

Now, it is possible that they choose not to listen to you because you’re likely asking them to stop doing something that’s fun for them, to do something less fun for you.  But know that they are more open to doing what you ask when they feel connected and supported by you.

The second step to peacefully get your kids off devices is to engage with them — once you have a feel for what they’re watching or playing, ask questions about it so they feel more connected to you.  What powers does that guy have?  What do you have to do to get to the next level?

If they don’t answer, they’re still too caught up in their electronic world.  Give them a minute, and then ask more questions.

Once they start answering questions and you have them back in reality, the next step is to start to move the conversation in the direction of telling them what you need from them.  If possible, I recommend that you have a question prepared that will give them a choice between two options to help them feel like they are maintaining some control, such as: 

Dinner is ready.  Would you like water or milk to drink?

Now that you have them engaged in what comes next, step 4 is to disconnect them from their device peacefully.

I always invite parents to consider how willing they are to help someone that is demanding or how much they’d want to support someone who doesn’t understand or appreciate them.  Not very much, right?  This is why the steps to connect and engage with your child are so important.

Getting kids to listen and cooperate is so much easier when you have a strong connection.

This is just one of the tools in the Confident Parenting Toolbox.  The more tools you have, the easier it is to address and handle challenges like a parenting pro.  If you’ve been struggling with challenges with your kids, consider adding some new tools to your parent toolbox. Schedule a free call here, to learn more about all of the different resources available and how I can help.

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