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How Can I Get My Kids to Put Down Their Phones?

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Constant texting—it may be annoying, but it's a normal part of life for many kids. Staying in touch with friends is important to preteens and teens.

However, if phone use is getting in the way of family time, homework, and other responsibilities, it might be time to help your kid manage their phone time.

Help kids reflect on their phone habits by having open, nonjudgmental conversations. Then give them a tool like a Family Tech Planner to suggest changes and set goals for themselves.

Help kids find space for face-to-face conversations. Put phones down during key conversation times such as dinner or car rides.

Model the manners and behavior you want to see. Avoid texting in the car. Consider describing your phone use ("I'm looking up directions to the party") so young kids understand why you're using the device. Make sure to excuse yourself if you have to interrupt a family moment to attend to your phone.

Charge kids' phones in your room or in a family room at night. Removing their phones can give kids a needed break.

Establish consequences for problematic phone use. If your kids are having trouble putting the phone away when you ask or are having other behavior problems with their phones, consider temporary time or location limits. Some wireless carriers offer parental controls that let you set daily limits for phone use, and some apps can disable your kid's phone when they hit a limit.

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