Limiting Your Kids' Screen Time to Avoid Toxic Brain Problems

Are your kids getting more than two hours a day of entertainment screen time? If so, you may be noticing problems in their behavior due to the toxic effects of too much screen time.

Are you seeing any of these problems?
  • Your child prefers spending time with screens over spending time with friends.
  • Your child complains about nothing to do when not using a screen.
  • Your child finds it hard to be in the moment due to wanting to get back to a screen.
  • Your child is irritable, angry or anxious when not using a screen.
  • Your child is struggling in school.
  • Your child would rather be on a screen than do something fun with you.
If you feel like there's a problem with your kids' screen time, it's time to take action. But how? Dr. Victoria Dunckley has created a free "Save Your Child's Brain" email class which walks you through the process of creating more balance in your child's screen usage. Will it be work? Yes! Will it be worth it? Absolutely!

Finding Friends Who Appreciate You as You Are

What’s your child’s definition of a true friend? Navigating friendships is challenging for many children at different times. Someone who used to be your child’s good friend suddenly no longer wants to play together.

One mom described her daughter, Eva’s, difficult search for friends who would appreciate her for who she is – including her enthusiasm and sometimes loud voice. The group of girls she was with often shamed her for being too noisy. She asked Eva “Do these friends work for you?” Eva realized that she was happiest when she was with friends who enjoyed her excitement and didn’t try to tone her down.

Eva started working hard to make new friends who were comfortable with her just as she was. She was much happier with this new set of friends!

Responding to Kids So That You Invite Cooperation, Not Power Struggles

Why do simple requests you make to your kids sometimes turn into power struggles? For example, you’ve asked your child to put on her shoes before you take her to school. Instead of cooperating she stamps her feet saying “No, I don’t want to wear shoes!”

Although you’ve made a reasonable request, your child is not complying. Any time you try to control your child’s behavior, you set yourself up for a possible power struggle.

Increasing the Odds Your Child Will Cooperate

One way to invite cooperation is to give your child some control in the situation. Instead of telling your child to get her shoes on, you could ask “Do you want to put on your red tennis shoes or your black dressy shoes?” If there is only one appropriate pair of shoes, you could give her a choice of whether to put them on in the house or in the car.

Another way to increase cooperation is to announce what you are going to do, not what she has to do. Saying something like “I’m going to put on my shoes and then I’ll wait for you in the car. Come when you’re ready.” This works well if you’re not in a rush and can relax in the car with a good book or music.

Sticking with Your Answer Without Arguing

Let’s consider another situation where your son has asked you if he can have a cookie. You’ve told him that dinner is soon and he can have a cookie after dinner but not right now. He complained “You never let me have anything I want!”

The responses below will fuel a power struggle because they encourage him to further discuss why he should be allowed to have a cookie.

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Getting Kids' Energy Out Before Bedtime

One dad wrote that his preschool daughter has started running around when she's supposed to be getting ready for bed. It's become a fun game for her ... but not so fun for her dad.

How can he change the dynamics of this situation so that at bed time she's ready to calm down instead of run around? One idea is to help her use up some of her energy at least 30 minutes before bedtime. He could do a fun "physical challenge" course asking her to do things like:
  • "Can you hop on one foot from the chair to the door?"
  • "How long can you hold your right leg out without losing your balance?"
  • "How far can you walk with your stuffed bear balanced on your head?"
  • "How many big arm circles can you do in a row?" 
  • "How fast can you run from the kitchen to your bedroom?  
Hopefully these activities will use up enough of her energy so that she can then wind down and look forward to getting her pajamas on and reading a book before falling asleep!

Sugared Cereal Is Not Healthy For Kids

Did you know that  sugared cereals have more sugar per serving than frosted cakes or donuts? Yikes! Dr. Michael Greger's article, &qu...