Dear Ilana and Jess: My kids have been glued to their phones and X-Box all summer. How do I get them off their screens and out into the fresh air? - Andrew
Dear Andrew: If the kids can’t regulate their screen time, you’re going to have to regulate it for them. You can create a contingency in which the kids are required to spend a certain amount of time on other activities – including exercise or time outdoors – in order to earn access to electronics. To enforce the rule, you may have to collect their devices and store them in a room where they aren’t accessible to the kids. If the kids refuse to set the controller aside, turn the Wi-Fi off temporarily. (You can also change the Wi-Fi password, if necessary).
The more structure the kids have, the easier it will be for them to stay detached from their screens. Consider enrolling the kids in camp. Although it’s late in the summer, you may find one or two-week programs that are still available, such as sports-training camps. Alternatively, you might consider recreational summer classes, many of which are scheduled on a rotating basis throughout the summer months (think dancing, painting, or team sports). You can also reach out to your local community center, Boys & Girls’ Club, or YMCA. And don’t forget about volunteering: it’s a great, free way to get out into the community.
Regardless of the kids’ age, you should include them in household responsibilities. Assigning the kids age-appropriate chores gives them a sense of responsibility and humility. Before the kids can kick back and tune out, they should be pitching in.
Say This: “Okay, kids, new rule: Before you can use the X-box, you have to spend at least 30 minutes outside and complete the list of chores I give you. Tonight, we’re going to sit down as a family to look at some fun classes/camps and choose one to sign up for.”
Not That: “Why are you wasting the whole day inside?”
Say This, Not That is based on the work of Cognition Builders: a global, educational company headed by Ilana Kukoff (Founder & CEO) and Jessica Yuppa Huddy (Chief Learning Officer). Everywhere from New York City to California to Shanghai to Zurich, the Cognition Builders team is called upon by A-list entertainers, politicians, CEOs, and CFOs to resolve the conflicts that upend everyday life. When their work is done, the families they serve are stronger than ever. With their new book, Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter Kukoff and Yuppa Huddy have selected the most common conversational mistakes parents make, and fixed them. For more information, please visit: https://cognitionbuilders.com. To purchase Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter visit: http://publishing.andrewsmcmeel.com/books/detail?sku=9781449488055.
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