If your lit­tle one de­mands a gad­get dur­ing ev­ery meal, it’s time you give her a dig­i­tal detox, says DR RICHARD C. WOOLF­SON. Here’s how to do it.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

Break your tot’s iPad ad­dic­tion at meal­times.

Elec­tronic tablets can be very ef­fec­tive at keep­ing your tod­dler en­ter­tained dur­ing meal­times. Watch­ing Youtube shows on the de­vice has be­come a habit for her as she feeds her­self.

You may nd that when you try to take it away, she will kick up a fuss, refuse to feed her­self and won’t sit still.

How can you wean her off the iPad – dur­ing meal­times, at least? Here’s the strat­egy:

De­vise a plan and stick to it

Ex­pect her to ob­ject strongly when you at­tempt to make her fo­cus less on the screen and more on the plate.

She’s very happy with the way things are at the mo­ment, thank you very much, and she wants that to con­tinue indenitely. Stay de­ter­mined de­spite her fe­ro­cious ob­jec­tions.

Avoid the cold turkey treat­ment

Much as you would want to hide the tablet un­til her next birth­day, you should aim for a grad­ual re­duc­tion in her us­age of the iPad at meal­times rather than an im­me­di­ate with­drawal.

She’ll re­spond best when she is given time to ad­just to the new ar­range­ments. Re­mem­ber that if she is in a good mood when she starts to eat, she’ll con­sume more.

Keep her busy as meal­time ap­proaches

Chat with your tod­dler as she sits in her high chair wait­ing for the meal to be served, and keep talk­ing to her as you put the food in front of her.

Your at­ten­tion and in­ter­est take her mind off the tablet, and she might even start eat­ing.

Sit with her as she eats

If pos­si­ble, make time to sit with your tod­dler as she munches her way through the meal.

She loves hav­ing you be­side her while she eats, espe­cially if she has you all to her­self with noth­ing else to take your at­ten­tion. This strat­egy re­duces her need for the iPad to keep her amused.

Re­duce us­age pro­gres­sively

On the rst day of im­ple­ment­ing your plan, keep the tablet away un­til, say, she has taken her rst few mouth­fuls of food. You’ll nd this more ef­fec­tive than to re­move it to­wards the end of the meal be­cause she may get up­set and de­cide to stop eat­ing at that point.

Af­ter a few days, in­tro­duce the tablet only when she has been eat­ing for, say, a minute. Slowly in­crease this de­lay ev­ery three or four days.

Pro­vide al­ter­na­tive dis­trac­tions

Maybe she would be happy to lis­ten to her favourite songs while she eats. Try not to give her a toy as she may pre­fer to hold that in­stead of the spoon.

Even­tu­ally re­move the tablet al­to­gether

At some stage – prob­a­bly within two or three weeks – you’ll reach the stage when the iPad should not ap­pear at all while she eats her meal. Stick to that plan, even if she com­plains.

Set a good ex­am­ple your­self

You can’t rea­son­ably ex­pect your tod­dler to give up screen-time if she sees you check e-mails on your smart­phone when you have your din­ner. Put away your de­vice, too, so the both of you can share a tech­nol­ogy-free meal to­gether.

You can’t ex­pect your tod­dler to give up screen-time if she sees you check e-mails on your smart­phone when you have your din­ner. Put away your de­vice, too.

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