Once we are off our devices, Dr Einstein says we’ll start to experience real moments of pleasure as we pay attention to our children and build positive parent-child relationships.
“It’s very difficult to fully connect with children if we are on devices. Your child might be telling you a story about something important that’s happened to them and you can both have a laugh – that’s much less likely to happen when we’re distracted with a device.
“We need to build the ability to show our kids that we can enjoy basic things, because we’re losing the ability and so are our children.”
Another issue is when our children see their friends receiving toys or being taken away on exotic holidays. Dr Collie believes children need to understand what they’ve got rather than what others have.
“One way to do this is through mindfulness. There are several online resources for children and families where you can engage in mindfulness activities and what’s known as gratitude activities. It’s all about getting children to think about what they’re grateful for today, and when they’re focusing on those things, they’ll get a better appreciation of what they’ve got,” Dr Collie says.
Dr Einstein suggests one way of dealing with kids who think their friends have ‘more stuff’ or better holidays, is just to talk about it.
“You can say, ‘I know that your friend got the latest iPad, or is going to Fiji on holidays and, in life, there’s always going to be some kids that do and some that don’t, but we’re not doing that right now.’ Let them know it’s okay to feel a bit envious and wish you had something your friend has,” Dr Einstein says.
“You can also let your child know that those feelings of envy happen to adults too and it’s a normal reaction.
“It’s better to talk about it and identify with what your child is feeling, rather than denying it or telling your child they shouldn’t feel that way.
“It’s more about saying, ‘Okay, it’s fine to feel a bit grumpy about it.’ Then you can talk about it for a while before moving on.”