The Giggle Parenting Guide To ipad Wrestling


Hand in Hand Parenting is all about giving children the deep sense of connection they need to be their natural, good, co-operative selves. And screentime can sometimes get in the way of providing this connection.

If your child’s behaviour has been a bit off kilter, then it’s highly likely they need more connection with you. You might be right there, and present and available, but if hurt feelings are clogging up their system, making it hard to think, then they might be more likely to zone out on a screen than come seeking connection.

If you are experiencing, whining, moaning, outbursts of anger or aggression, or withdrawn or shy behaviour in public, or pretty much any off-track behaviour then that’s a sign your child needs more connection.

If your child’s having a lot of screentime, then try this giggle parenting game to switch off, and add in more connection.

Move in close to your child when they’re watching their screen. Make eye contact, or at least try to, and put your hands on the screen. This is what we call physically ‘bringing the limit.”Rather than calling across the room to your child, you come close and add the connection they need. Tell them that you think you should do something else together.Let them know they can go back to their episode later/another day etc. Be warm and friendly in your tone, rather than ‘serious’ to invite them to be playful with you.

Don’t grab the ipad out of their hands quickly and put it away, instead, keep hold of it but let them hold it too, this gives them the chance to object, and to express their disappointment, rather than feeling powerless.

Your child might start crying or tantrumming in which case you can staylisten to those feelings. By listening and empathising instead of distracting or fixing, you help to heal the hurt that is causing their sense of disconnection.

Or they might try wrestling the ipad out of your hands, and start laughing as they try to get away from you. This is where ipad wrestling comes in! You need to stay one step ahead of your child so that no damage comes to the ipad. Stay within arms reach, or keep your hands on the ipad. Remind them that it’s time to put it away but stay warm and friendly. As your child, laughs, and tries to wriggle the ipad out of your hands, they are soaking up that warm connection they need to think clearly enough to co-operate.

Setting limits like this does take time, but it’s in an investment in time, because all those grumpy, off-track feelings get to be released so your child’s overall behaviour improves, and life becomes a lot easier. You can try this game with any object you’d like to take out of your child’s hands, and it can be a great one to use in sharing struggles too.

We tried this yesterday and within minutes my daughter was happy to put the ipad away. I noticed how the game shifted from her not wanting to give me the ipad to her simply enjoying the fun game and power reversal play. I didn’t need to physically take it away against her will, but instead wait until she was willing to co-operate. And she was in a great mood afterwards.

It was a helpful reminder to me, that setting limits with our child doesn’t have to be about being the ‘mean parent’ who goes against our child’s wishes. It’s about looking at the deeper need beneath their behaviour, and fulfilling that instead. And that deeper human need we all crave is quite simple; it’s connection.

For more information about the Hand in Hand Parenting approach to setting limits download your free ebook here. Or check out their Setting Limits online self-study course


What To Do When Your Child Just Wants To Watch TV


Your child is asking to watch TV, over and over again. It seems like the only thing on his mind. What do you do? If you say yes, he’ll want to watch for hours. If you say no, he’ll collapse into a storming tantrum.

If your child seems on the verge of tears every time you set a limit on TV then it’s probably actually a good time to say no.

When children feel good they can think flexibly, they can accept your ‘no’s and go off and find something else to do. If their desire to watch TV is accompanied by desperation then it’s probably a sign that there’s something they need much for than TV and that’s connection with you.

When we humans get upset, we sometimes express our feelings freely. We have a good laugh, or a good cry, in the presence of someone who loves us, and this healthy, natural, physiological response results in us feeling better.

At other times our feelings get a bit clogged up and buried. And then we tend to gravitate towards things that will help us feel numb; TV, ice cream or a cup of coffee.

So, if your child is asking for TV, with an edgy, neediness, you can intuit that they are on the brink of a tantrum, and actually that saying no is a gift that will help them feel (and behave!) better. As they cry, stay close and over hugs when needed. This allows your childr to soak up your love and connection, so they can restore their natural well-being.

But what if your child seems relaxed and in a good mood when they ask for TV? How do you decide when to say yes and when to say no? This is a very personal and individual judgement for each family to make. And although I have some advice I don’t have any definitive answers.

Here’s something I’ve been trying recently when my daughter’s watching TV, and that’s to snuggle down with her for 10-15 minutes and call it our TV Special Time. What I’ve noticed is that often she tends to voluntarily stop watching TV sometime after our special time has finished. It’s like me watching with her gives her the message that I’m available and present. That I’m not disconnected and on my own screen, but close and connected.

If you regularly give special time in your house, and your child is always asking for TV you might want to say yes for the first 8 times. This lets your child know that you respect their interests, that you are a willing to take a journey with them into their world. And that added connection you give them might just help them regulate their own screentime.

For more information about the Hand in Hand Parenting approach to setting limits sing up to follow my blog in the top right hand corner of this page, or check out my book Tears Heal: How to listen to our children