(WHTM) — If you’ve ever given your child a screen to help stop a tantrum, you may want to think twice about continuing that habit in the future.
Research shows it could impact emotional regulation long term.
“When parents use screen time to calm a child’s emotions, what they’re actually doing is teaching them that it works as opposed to teaching a child that they can manage their own feelings,” explained Michael Manos, Ph.D., a pediatric psychologist for Cleveland Clinic Children’s.
Dr. Manos did not take part in the study but said it’s important that children learn how to manage their emotions and identify their feelings, otherwise, when they get older they could have trouble expressing themselves in a socially appropriate way.
So, what can parents do to help prevent that from happening?
When a child is having a tantrum, Dr. Manos said parents need to teach their child how to manage their emotions instead of trying to distract them.
However, he knows that can be challenging, especially if they have trouble explaining exactly what they’re feeling.
To help with that, he recommends using descriptive statements while talking with them.
For example, they could say, “You are very angry right now.”
“The problem with feelings is that many times children do not know what their feelings are,” he said. “They cannot give language to their feelings, they cannot name their feelings, and when you are able to name something, you are better able to manage it.”
Dr. Manos said another option is to place your child in a quiet, comfortable space where they can collect themselves. Then when they calm down, you can talk to them about how they’re feeling.
With that being said, he discourages parents from sending them to their room as if it’s a “time out” and they’re being punished.