I’m gonna take the iPad and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine

cartoon-of-boy-playing-a-hand-held-computer-gamer-isolated-clipart-83383855“Time for dinner. Please put (insert electronic gadget) away.”


“Hey, I said it’s time for dinner! Put that (insert electronic gadget) away right now or else….”

Insert sound of feet running towards the dinner table, doors slamming, followed by sulks, tears or tantrums.

You yell. They yell. You yell back.

Does this sound familiar at all? Your family is not alone.

According to a recent survey, eight out of 10 parents with children under the age of 14 prefer to take gadgets away as a form of discipline.

“My kids were out of control with their electronic devices so we came up with a simple rule,” said Jen Levinson, the woman behind Jen’s List.

“No electronics at all from Monday morning until Friday after school,” said the Calabasas mother of five. ”That means nothing at all with an on-off switch.”

Gone are those times when the day’s highlight was playing outside after homework or chores was done.

“Be home before the streetlights turn on,” parents would say before the advent of electronics.

Experts believe that children do best when the ground rules are clear and consistent. Rules that keep changing can confuse children causing those dreaded confrontations, tantrum-throwing and screaming matches.

Enforce time limits. Two-thirds of children recently surveyed said that their parents have “no rules and no time limits” when it comes to media use.

Saying “dinner-is-in-15-minutes-turn-the-TV-off” every night won’t hold water if you don’t follow through or you’re on the phone yourself wrapping up a work-related conference call, thus delaying dinner.

Children learn by example. Say goodbye to your boss or client on the phone in 15 minutes, if that’s when you said dinner would be ready.

Also suggest other non-electronic activities such as building Legos, reading, engaging in arts and crafts, or just playing outside.

Most kids also like to feel they have a certain control over things at home and like to know what’s next on the schedule.

“Put the iPad away after 20 minutes and then ride your bike” might get a better response than just saying “put it away right this very minute.”

Tweak the rules a bit for different ages. An older child can stay up longer as long as homework is done. A younger child needs to be finished sooner to meet an earlier bedtime.

Some parents have also resorted to more innovative ways of curbing electronics use. For about an extra $5 a month with wireless providers like AT & T, you can opt to turn on parental controls.

“It is money well-spent,” said one parent who “turns off” her daughter’s cell phone from 9 pm to 7 am on school nights.

Challenges will still abound. “My older kids like to sneak in electronics while in the bathroom or at night in bed,” said Levinson.

Make bedrooms electronics-free, if at all possible. Hide or put away portable electronics. Take TV remotes away. Install parental controls and time limits on computers.

So when you tuck your kids in at night, they are really off to dreamland and not sneaking in one more zombie video game. Then the nightmares begin.