Magazine article USA TODAY

Modern Parents Face off against Angry Birds

Magazine article USA TODAY

Modern Parents Face off against Angry Birds

Article excerpt

'Ten years ago, if parents wanted some peace in the household, they'd simply put their child in front of a video. Back then you could even ask your kids to come to dinner, but children now ignore you. Kids are so plugged into an iPad, iPhone, or some Wii activity, it's hard to get them out of their own zone," explains speech therapist Ann Densmore, author of Helping Children with Autism Become More Social: 76 Ways to Use Narrative Play and Your Successful Preschooler: Ten Skills Children Need to Become Confident and Socially Engaged.

"Social media makes it practically impossible to talk to children when they are fixated on their screens, and though many wonderful apps can help kids with language and math, the problem is about what they are missing--interation and family relationships"

If this sounds all too familiar, Densmore, whose work appears on the Harvard Medical School blog, offers some tips to make better connections with kids of all ages who are too plugged in, starting with toddlers, preschoolers, and younger children:

* Take time to talk and listen. Give them a simple plan for your day.

* Provide a "reward" to motivate. "When we get home from shopping, you can have 10 minutes on your iPad to use two apps: Giggly Gorillas or Toca Boca. …

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