It鈥檚 no surprise that our love for all things tech has transferred to the next generation. From drawing apps for kids to setting up a personal Instagram account for your child, kiddos are more plugged in than ever before. But when it comes to taking away their devices, things can get dicey fast 鈥 we鈥檙e talking piercing screams that鈥檒l pop your ear drums and mega world-ending tantrums. Well, thanks to new research by scientists at the University of Washington, a breakthrough study reveals just what to do (and what not to do) when it comes to taking tech away from your kids.


Thinking that the tried-and-true method of giving children a two-minute warning before turning off their devices would be the most successful technique to prevent tantrums, the scientists decided to test their theory by conducting 27 family interviews and a 28-family diary study. But the results weren鈥檛 at all what they had envisioned.

鈥淲e were really shocked,鈥 says lead author Alexis Hiniker, 鈥渢o the point that we thought 鈥榳ell, maybe parents only give the two-minute warning right before something unpleasant or when they know a child is likely to put up resistance.鈥 So they set up various controls to more conclusively examine their research, but the results remained the same: 鈥淓very way we sliced it, the two-minute warning made it worse.鈥

Although most parents used the common technique of warning their children that their screen time was about to end, most were iffy about whether or not the technique actually worked. 鈥淭he warning doesn鈥檛 always register,鈥 said one parent. Another noted that 鈥渋t doesn鈥檛 always help.鈥

But if using a two-minute warning doesn鈥檛 stop the dreaded toddler tantrum, what on earth will? According to researchers, these are the four methods that fared the best when faced with a temperamental toddler.


How to turn off your kids鈥 devices without a tantrum

1. Turn off autoplay.聽If possible, try turning off autoplay and suggested video functions on your children鈥檚 devices. According to this study鈥檚 research, the constant 鈥榦ne more鈥 effect it produces is a driving force behind most screen time battles.

2. Make it part of your routine.聽If your child knows that they always turn off their devices when breakfast is ready or when it鈥檚 time to go to school, it often makes for an easier screen-time transition.

3. Make use of natural stopping points.聽Let鈥檚 be honest, we鈥檝e all watched Frozen enough times to know the easiest points to stop the movie without interrupting a major plot point or scene. Take advantage of natural stopping points 鈥斅爓hether that鈥檚 shorter five or 10 minute videos or just a natural stopping point in a longer film.

4. Blame the tech.聽If you have to suddenly stop your child from using a device, Hiniker and company says it鈥檚 time to blame the technology. 鈥淐hildren were less upset when the technology turned itself off than when the parent turned it off,鈥 writes Hiniker, meaning that blaming a video for being unavailable because of a poor WiFi connection might just be a surefire way to stop an impending meltdown.

What鈥檚 your go-to method for dealing with screen time transitions? Tweet us your advice using @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)