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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Howard

Kids Nagging Parents - Screens & Refusing to hear "no"

Wait? I thought parents were supposed to be the ones nagging the kids?! My kids nag me more than ANY time I nag them! Can I have this? More of that? please please? With big feelings and reactions trying to get MORE! If this sounds familiar you are not alone!

As promised, this blog will have bits of things I listen to or read and can't stop thinking about and want to share with you. Today, I was listening to the 1000 Hours Outside podcast (one of my favorites that will come up often), and the topic was Children Who Play Creatively Are Not Lucrative to the Toy Industry with Dr. Susan Linn author of Who's Raising the Kids? Big Tech, Big Business, and the Lives of Children. I could write and talk for hours about the effects of screens on our brains. I know how hard it is to limit screens (video games, streaming entertainment, or social media) for ourselves and our children. But to avoid a 1 billion word blog post I'll talk about the point that I find the hardest. Nagging.

Dr. Susan Linn talks about how the only time our children nagged us for things prior to technology was in the grocery store. Now with so much advertising marketed to children and the way we can never get away from ads due to technology it's unstoppable. Children nag for more money for the free games, more time on their screen, more games, more new technology, more more more more. This is not their, OR THEIR PARENT'S, fault entirely. Our society has changed and big companies have turned kids into BIG businesses. So? How can we address this tech-related nagging? My top 3 tips inspired by this podcast episode:

1) Help children see the benefits of boredom. Bored kids are more work for parents but boredom is also where all of the best creativity comes from. Help your child find free screen-free ways to fill bored times and create more opportunities for bored times.

2) Create more tech-free activities for kiddo as well as for the whole family. One thing I love about the 1000 Hours Outside podcast is the number of ways it encourages me to get outside just for myself and my family. They have themed walks, nature scavenger hunts, and so many other great ideas on their website. Weather a barrier? Time of day and light level? Find more ways for screen-free fun. Libraries for books, board game cafes to learn new games, sports activities, arts and crafts, the list goes on and on. Yes, this takes more energy to set up than screens but it's an investment instead of the energy suck of screens.

3) Model model model. I will be candid. After a long day, all I want to do is go home and scroll through social media and watch tv. I want the mindless entertainment. I've spent my whole day peopling and working I just want some quiet! The way I started to flip this is by committing to one part of my day being screen-free and the longer I did that the easier it got. We do screen-free dinner time and then screen-free bath and book time. I've started reading more in front of my kid, doing craft projects, playing with the dogs, playing in the garden, and cooking meals. The more we can show how we fill our time and involve our children the more they will see ways to fill their screen-free time. Is this more work? ABSOLUTELY, do I do it every day? NO! But like all things the more often we can do these things the better.

I hope these ideas help and please remember to reach out if your family is struggling and wants some help implementing these things or problem-solving when you feel like you've tried it all already.

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