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Technology Addiction

My baby has a tantrum if I don't let her use my iPhone or iPad

If your baby has a tantrum when you take the phone or tablet away, just use your normal consequences. It shouldn't be any different with devices. A lot of parents worry that a tantrum means baby has developed an unhealthy attachment to the phone or tablet, but that's very unlikely. If handing over the phone has become a habit, it'll take some time to curb her outbursts. Babies also don't typically understand the "five-minute countdown" (i.e., that they have only five more minutes with the device before they have to give it up.) Babies are very much in the moment -- they want what they want when they want it. Here are some ways that may cut down on tantrums over devices.

  • Transition into using the phone or tablet together -- such as showing her photos of herself or watching short videos together -- so she'll get used to it being a shared experience.
  • Begin to show her how you use the phone as a tool, such as to make calls -- not a treat that she gets from being "good." 
  • As with everything else she wants and can't have, she'll develop the ability to self-soothe with your help.

What's your strategy for avoiding tantrums when you take the phone away from baby?