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Tuesday 21.11.2017 | Name days: Andis, Zeltīte
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Psychologist: lengthy screen time ‘steals’ time for family relationships

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUPsychologist Gunta Millere explains that she often faces situations when parents complain about their children spending too much time playing computer games and watching television. Inevitably the psychologist ends up discussing parents’ and children’s mutual relationships.

Time spent staring at the screen steals time for cultivation of relationships, explains the psychologist.

Not only children but parents as well spend too much time tinkering with gadgets – children often tell about it when talking about their family: dad is watching TV, mom is using her phone, and brother is playing on his tablet. Such stories are not funny or entertaining, because in reality children long for real relationships, explains Millere. «It is not about denying children the use of smart devices, but rather making sure devices do not take up the entirety of their lives.»

«Children have to be given the opportunity to study the world around them, form relationships, make friends, misbehave and have fun with other children. This is why parents should limit the time their children spend staring at screens. Spending time together and having fun, as well as regular family contact will help children do something other than sit staring at a screen,» psychologist explains.

At the same time, the specialist also provides recommendations for ways to improve parents’ relationships with children:

-Make the time to talk to children

Because of everyday rush, parents tend to get so tired that they are unable to spend time with their children in the evening. There is something parents can do, and this is make the time to listen to their children. You had a heavy day, but they also experienced something worth telling. This is especially true for 12-year-olds.

Perhaps children will keep doing that if they get used to being heard. When talking to your child, provide them will all of your attention – put down the phone and switch off the TV set. It does not have to be long – 15 minutes are enough.

Be interesting when speaking with your child

Every child wants to hear something interesting from their parents. Parents also feel that way but often find they have nothing to say. «Have you done your homework? Have you eaten dinner? Have you cleaned your room?» – these are the most popular conversation topics. Unfortunately, they do not interesting conversation material. Parents should try steering the conversation towards a topic that would interest their children.

Even if parents do not find the topic interesting, it is important to demonstrate an interest in the child’s thoughts and interests. Starting a conversation from small things, it is easier to end up with specific topics that interest the child. Conversations about children’s everyday life and interests will help them feel needed and valued by their parents.

Be understanding in relationships and become an example in the use of smart devices

If parents and children do not spend enough time together and their relationship lacks openness, they will become distant from one another. Parents may experience personal problems they do not wish to discuss with children, which may lead to them distancing themselves from their children both physically and emotionally.

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