Parenting in an age of ever changing technology—battling over screen time use, deciding when to allow your child to have a smart phone, and understanding how much screen time is too much—can be confusing for parents of children of all ages.
Joining me today to help parents learn to cut through the confusion and successfully navigate parenting in the digital age is The Screentime Consultant, Emily Cherkin.
If you want to understand why screens are so addictive, how to help our children establish healthy relationships with technology, and techniques for transitioning them off of their devices without a meltdown (most of the time) then this is an episode you won’t want to miss!
It’s not a fair fight. I mean, you aren’t tapping into your child’s neural pathways, the way the devices are or the apps are. And so we have to remember that as parents
Dr. Sarah (00:00:15):
Do you often find yourself battling with your child over their screen time use? Hearing them beg for just one more episode or one more show or watching as they turn into tablet zombies before your very eyes. It’s definitely not just you. And that’s why it’s so important for parents to be intentional and educated about our screen time strategies. How, and when we use screens with our kids matters, joining me today is The Screentime Consultant, Emily Cherkin. Emily is a former middle school English teacher who now works to educate parents, schools and companies on how to become more tech intentional. So if you wanna understand why tech is so addictive, how we can help our children establish healthy relationships with tech, as well as techniques for transitioning them off of their devices without a meltdown. Most of the time, then this episode is for you.
Hi, I’m Dr. Sarah Bren, a clinical psychologist and mom of two in this podcast. I’ve taken all of my clinical experience, current research on brain science and child psychology and the insights I’ve gained on my own parenting journey and distilled everything down into easy to understand and actionable parenting insights. So you can tune out the noise and tune into your own authentic parenting voice with confidence and calm. This is Securely Attached.
Hi everybody. I’m really excited about today’s episode. This is a topic that so many people have been asking questions about, and I, we are so lucky to have Emily Cherkin today. She is The Screentime Consultant and she has dedicated her work to helping families navigate screens with their children in the healthiest possible way. So I’m like super excited that you’re here. Thank you for coming on the podcast.
Thank you for having me. I’m really excited to be here.
So tell us a little bit about the work that you do.
Yeah, so I am by training an educator. So I taught middle school for 12 years. And in the 12 years I was in the classroom which started in 2003. I really witnessed this huge shift, both in the tech that was happening for school and the screen use that kids were having for entertainment and social media. And so of course in those early days, it was like MySpace and Facebook, which nobody uses Facebook if you’re under 40 anymore. But it was this recognition that normal seventh grade, which was a grade I taught angst and FOMO and social awkwardness was now magnified by this external experience, the social media, the online communication. And it was spilling over into the classroom. And I realized that I needed to talk to my students about it, but what was really fascinating is what my students started saying.
Yeah, but Emily it’s our parents, our parents are looking at their phones. Our parents are texting and driving. Like they’re the ones getting sucked into Facebook. It’s not just us. And I thought, oh, this isn’t a kid problem. This is an adult problem. And it is our responsibility as adults to address it so that we can help our kids address it. Yeah. And so I launched my business in 2018 and a lot of it was just sort of word of mouth. I do a lot of school presentations, like parent education type events. I have some private clients, I do coaching and workshops. But what was really interesting is I, I didn’t do a lot of marketing. I had people just coming because this was such an issue for their families. And simultaneously I was raising my own kids. So I have now a 14 year old and an 11 year old. But in the last 10 years, this problem has changed pretty dramatically. And I’ve witnessed it as a parent as well. So I come to this with my knowledge as an educator, but my humility as a parent, knowing this is so hard.
Dr. Sarah (00:04:09):
Yeah. And I think that really resonates for me too, like this idea that like, you know, what the kids are watching us. And I, I say that as the parent who’s being watched, right. I am on my phone ever since I, I started posting on Instagram during the beginning of the pandemic. I never did it before. Like I consumed content online, but not that much, cuz I was busy. I was working and I was a mom. And, but something about this pandemic for me personally really shifted my relationship to technology myself. And I know my kids see it and I know my kids feel it. And it’s like my own work that I have to do to kind of put the phone in another room when I’m spending dinner with them. Right. Or when we’re getting ready for bed and, and it’s, it’s shockingly maybe not. So shockingly we’ll find out exactly why it’s not so shockingly hard to put it down. Like I’m addicted to my phone and I know that.
Right. And the hardest calls, well, I get a lot of hard phone calls, but like one of the challenges is when parents call me and want me to fix their kids and the problem is this it’s until we look at our own use and our own behavior, it’s not gonna change our children’s use or our children’s behavior because to your point, they’re watching us. And I always give the example of my husband several years ago. I mean, this was like seven or eight years ago, you know, doing the thing where you put your kid to bed and you got your phone in your hand and you’re scrolling like under the bed kind of like, out of mind out of sight.
Dr. Sarah (00:05:36):
Oh my God. I’ve definitely done that.
I mean, guilty as charged, but my husband is doing this right. And my son sits up and he looks at him and he goes, daddy, I can’t compete with your iPhone. And it was this, like, that was a very big aha moment. And this was before I even launched my business and it was like, oh gosh, he’s so right. We can’t, we can’t do this to them. So it’s hard.
Dr. Sarah (00:06:03):
And think it’s really important to like, and I know that we’re gonna talk about this today. This idea that like these devices are so intentionally made to do this to us. Like to us. And if we don’t stand a chance against it, our kids don’t stand an iota of a chance against it.
Exactly, exactly. And that’s what I say to parents all the time. This is not a fair fight because it is not you versus your child is this is not a typical power struggle. It is you versus the technology company’s design techniques versus your child. And it’s not a fair fight. I mean, you aren’t tapping into your child’s neural pathways, the way the devices are or the apps are. And so we have to remember that as parents. And of course that’s challenging, cuz that means we have to regulate our own response but it’s hard cuz you know, if they’re digging in deeper, we feel like we’ve gotta dig in deeper and then, you know, chaos ensues.
Dr. Sarah (00:07:05):
Right. So of, of course we’re gonna talk about how we, as parents can reduce our screen time use, but let’s talk about kids because I think, you know, kids, like we are saying like they’re very easily persuaded by this technology. It’s very tracing. It’s very hard to shift out of it once you’ve engaged with it.
Dr. Sarah (00:07:29):
What, and I think that parents see this and it freaks them out. Yeah. And yes, I think you’re right. Some parents are like, what’s wrong with my kid that they’re doing this. They’re not, their behavior is bad. They don’t listen. We get into power struggles all the time around screen times. And I love this idea of saying like, maybe it’s not you versus your child. Maybe it is you and your child versus this sort of like tech…
Dr. Sarah (00:07:57):
Which is why I always, I mean, I always say too that I’m not anti-technology I’m tech intentional. Right? So that this is true of everything. Like we talked about, you know, everything in moderation, right? I don’t believe that absolutism is the solution here. I know that this is the digital world that this is what we’re living in. It’s not going away. That being said until I see there is long term data about the harms and safe use of screens for children. My approach is less, is more right? So that we’re thinking long term about this. So parents of younger children pre five, you know that this is, it is not at all too late to start thinking about it. And it is not too early. I talk to parents of newborn groups all the time and they, they ask questions that are very reasonable. Like when can I expose my baby to screen time?
Because that’s what they see. That’s what everybody’s doing. And my advice is very much like they don’t need it. They just, it’s just not necessary. It’s not good for their brains. And again, I take this approach of not shaming parents either because I think the tech industry very much wants to make us feel like it’s our fault and that we’re bad parents and we’ve failed. And of course that message is only gonna reinforce the important they have an app for that. Right? They have a solution. They’ll let try this. And you’ll you’ll you set this parental control and your kid will be fine. And that’s not the case at all. We have to hold the mirror back to them and yes, we are responsible for how we model it, how we use it. But I believe that it really is a part of that family conversation that needs to be happening from day one.
I know. And it’s weird to think about talking to your infant about screen time, but I believe that if parents can start earlier, they are setting themselves up for that long term success or at least balance that that we want because right. I can tell you that every single parent I talk to whose kid is over 12 or 13 says, I wish I had delayed. I wish I hadn’t given the iPhone at 10. I wish I hadn’t given social media access at whatever. Every single one of them it was. I wish I waited. So I don’t know. I mean, those are anecdotal data points, but literally every single person I talk to says that. So I’m gonna take that as a sign.
Dr. Sarah (00:10:12):
I get that. So like what, what can parents do? Like thinking about like, whether it’s a newborn group or maybe a group of elementary school parents. Yeah. Like what are you advising them to do? As far as like having these conversations with their kids to help their kids be like a bit more, like educated consumers of this?
Absolutely. A couple of things right off the bat, it starts with our use, right? Like that modeling piece and looking at our own screen use, if we’re telling our kids to get off their phones, but we’re scrolling at the dinner table, doesn’t matter what we say about what they should do. They’re not gonna do it cuz we’re not doing it. So definitely there’s a parent component. But then there are two pieces that I really feel like parents have to have a handle on an understanding before they can really make any rules or set limits about screen time. So the first one is executive functions skills, right? Which you are very well aware of. These are all of those skills that happen in that prefrontal cortex of our brain. It’s the, the stuff of life is kind of how I see it. Like these are organization, time management, planning, emotion, regulation, cognitive flexibility, like the skills that affect literally everything we do.
So it doesn’t matter what career you go into. You have to have a strong executive function, but fascinatingly that part of our brain doesn’t fully develop until we’re in our twenties or even thirties. So it’s the last part. So on the one hand, that’s good news. Cuz we can take the long view. There’s still time, right? On the other hand, it’s so critical to so many parts of our life that if we bypass these really important, great brain growth opportunities at different ages, like early childhood and adolescents again it’s, it’s shutting a lot of doors, so I don’t want parents to freak out about that, but I also want them to see the importance of those skills. And so I always say, you know, we wanna think about the displacement. So if we’re giving tech or we’re giving screens, what are we displacing by giving, right?
What skills are not being taught? And so one example of that might be, and I hear this all the time. I need, my kid needs a phone because they walk home alone from school and you might have different opinions about it. At what age children should walk home alone. I tend to err on the side of the world is, despite what we see on the news, there are many ways in which our world is a lot safer for children to be walking around or walking home from school. And there are a lot of risks. Why are we more comfortable giving our kid a phone that has unlimited access to the internet in the name of safety? Right? There’s a real sort of paradox here. And so I, I understand the parent’s sentiment behind that. Like I need to get ahold of them, like what if they get lost?
But I would back it up one more and say, what are the benefits of them problem solving if they do get lost. And again, I’m not, yes, we want our kids to be safe, but we need them to experience some risk in childhood because that builds confidence and resilience and problem solving skills that they are gonna need to be healthy adults later. Right. And so I’m sure you’ve heard this term too, this sort of concept of lawn mower parenting, right. Or snow plow parenting. Yes. Where we go ahead of our children and try to mow away obstacles to protect them. But in fact, we want them to figure out how to navigate those bumps because right. That’s, what’s setting them up for that future success. Right. So that’s the, that’s the executive function. And then the second piece, and we can dive more into both of these, but just, I don’t wanna forget to say this because it’s so important.
Technology companies design their products to hook and hold our attention. This is true of any adult who has experienced the infinite loop, right? Like you’re sitting there in bed at night watching Netflix and then it auto plays that next episode rather than you having to opt into it. Remember that subtle. Yes, we are gonna watch longer. And for more episodes because of that slight design feature and that’s called persuasive design. So it’s the use of psychology plus technology to change our behavior or to make our behavior not change right. To keep what we’re, what we’re doing. And the problem with that is as adults, we are so susceptible, we are guilty of doom scrolling through Twitter or Instagram or watching extra episodes. Children do not have adult brains. So if it is hard for us, there is no way we can expect children to have mastered this. There isn’t a single class or skill that we’re gonna teach them that will help them be successful at managing that because we can’t even do it as adults. And that’s to what we, we can talk about more in depth too, but about why, you know, with the tapping into that dopamine and those neural pathways that really impacts in a similar way to other forms of addiction. Right. Yeah. And makes it so hard to stop.
Dr. Sarah (00:14:49):
Yes. And I think it’s interesting, this idea, going back to your first point, like risk taking and creating a way for our children to be able to solve problems without tech, right?
Dr. Sarah (00:15:03):
There’s there’s benefit to that. Like I’m thinking my first thought in my head was like, if my kid and my kid is too young for this, right. He’s four and a half. My oldest is four and a half. But like if my kid gets to the point where he’s old enough to, you know, walk home from somewhere like from the NA from a kid’s house or from a school and he needs to figure out where like he doesn’t have a phone now. Yeah. And we have had lots of conversations with him about if you get lost, what do you do?
Dr. Sarah (00:15:33):
Right, right. And he knows his address. He knows our phone numbers. Yeah. He knows who’s a safe grownup to connect to if he’s lost. And these are conversations that we’ve been having, you know, for a very long time and he is four and a half. And like, we are starting to have them with our three year old daughter too. So yeah. There are ways that we that’s not to say that I’m never gonna be nervous of how to reach him. Right. But I also know my four and a half year old probably knows how to get a phone and call me if he needs to. Or have a grown up call me.
Yeah. Well that you mentioned phone numbers and how many kids know their parents’ phone numbers. I would love to do a survey about that because I bet most of them don’t know them by heart. They have ’em in their phone. Right. So they don’t. So this is one of those things like that outsourcing of certain skills or knowledge. I don’t see. That’s not a good thing. We want, I mean, how can you remember the phone numbers of your childhood best friend? Cuz I totally could rattle off like, five phone numbers.
Dr. Sarah (00:16:34):
Oh my gosh, that’s so funny. I was just talking to my dad about this the other day. We were like rattling off all of our old home phone numbers from like the nineties.
Right. Right. And, and our children are not having that experience. And, and I love that you’re talking to your, your young children about this because I remember teaching my daughter, my phone number to the tune of Are You Sleeping? So we just did it with area code in the numbers. So this is a great thing you can do in the car with your little kids is start singing your phone number over and over and over again. And now she can sing it back to me. Even at age 11, she remembers, right? Yes. But that’s a safety thing, right.
Dr. Sarah (00:17:08):
This is a really good way to do that.
Yes. And of course music helps us remember things and yes, so I, I love that you’re doing that. That’s really important. And we have to be having those safety. Those are safety conversations that are related to technology later too, right? Yes. It’s not just about the world we live in now. It’s it’s safety. It’s so important.
Dr. Sarah (00:17:28):
Yes. And I think the other piece that I think is helpful to remember is trusting our kids to solve problems.
Yes, yes. Yes. I am so glad to hear you say that. Cuz I feel like we, when we give them a device, we give it to them cuz they want it. Cuz it’s quote unquote what everyone else is doing. And yet we’re saying to them in some ways overtly or not, I’m not sure I can trust you to solve your own problems. I’m not sure that I can trust you to, to hang out at school if I’m running late and not panic right there. And this is so hard. I understand. And you know, we, we can talk about the, the, no, the news headlines, right? The horrible things that are happening nationally. And I understand that through line to anxiety as a parent, but there are a lot of ways in which our children are less safe when we give them these devices on which they have to then rely. And that’s it that like, they don’t build what they need.
Dr. Sarah (00:18:29):
Right. And this goes, I think very importantly into the executive functioning stuff. Right. Because you know, listen, I use a calculator cuz I don’t wanna do the work of adding things in my head. Right. I use GPS because I cannot remember how to get anywhere. Yep. And I’m sure that when I was 16, when I was 16, I had a note card box in the armrest of the car that had everybody’s address and directions from my house to their house written on it. And I would keep it cause, cause we didn’t have, I didn’t have GPS or cell phone when I was, you know, right. 16. Or if I did have a cell phone, it was like a little NOK thing and it did not have GPS on it anyway. Right. My point is we figured it out and that’s not to sound like a, you know, oh, in my day we figured out everything and you don’t like I say that, knowing that like I use shortcuts now I use technology to make my life easier. Now I don’t have a problem. My kids using technology to make their lives easier either. But what are the long term impacts of not using those problem, solving executive function skills because we’re immediately going to our phone to solve that problem for us. We are looking exactly everything up on our phones. We are, we are replacing a lot of thinking.
Dr. Sarah (00:19:48):
Because we have the phone.
Oh. And I feel like the critical thinking aspect of this world right now. Like this to me, I mean, I really, I say this a lot. I firmly believe that the work I’m doing is fighting for kids’ future cognitive and emotional health. And that this is a civil rights issue. This is a public health crisis and this is a crisis of our, our democracy. And I know that sounds out outrageously huge.
Dr. Sarah (00:20:13):
It doesn’t sound outrageous to me.
Okay, good. Cause it’s what it is. I really think that if we’re going to turn these devices over and we are not going to provide opportunities to build those other skills first we’re, we’re failing our kids. And it’s a scary world to think about where that’s now. That is not to say that it isn’t something that at some point they could have or that we scaffold in exposure to it again, I’m not anti-tech but again, you mentioned the long term research there’s no, we don’t have long term data about excessive screen use for children because the iPad, for example is barely a decade old. And when it first came out, it was for adults. And it’s really only in the last five or six years that we see kids walking around with iPads, with rubber cases, you know, and using, using them in a way where, of course marketers and tech companies are like, oh, here’s a whole new audience for us to pitch to.
But five years, that’s not long term data at all. Like I, again, until we see that to tell me, otherwise my approach is less, is more airing on the side of caution. And I hear enough horror stories to feel like I know that I’m on the right side of history on this one and that we will be vindicated later. I mean, I do believe this is our generation’s big tobacco. Like big tech is our big tobacco. Right. And there will be retroactive litigation and there is current litigation happening about harms that have been done to children. Right. So it’s our kids with the Guinea pigs.
Dr. Sarah (00:21:49):
Right. And we don’t, we might not have long term data on the effects of brain health, but we certainly have current data on the effects of emotional and social health. We are looking at depressed teens at numbers that we have never seen before. And we are looking at social anxiety and teens at numbers we’ve never seen before. And yes, part of that is certainly from other variables, like a pandemic. Yeah. Right. But a lot of it is because of the, this social media, we know we have actual data that social media use is causing depression or there’s a correlation between social use and depression. Exactly. In exactly. Especially young teen girls, but other populations as well.
Yeah, absolutely. And you know, there is, I was, I’m glad you said that. Cause I always say correlation is not causation, but they, but they exist, right? Yes. These things at the same time. And it was around 2008, I believe that with the uptick of social media use and the uptick of mental health crises in young people, and this is all pre pandemic, right. I, I really think the pandemic through fuel on the fire, right. It just right. It literally just exploded all these problems. And again, there are always exceptions to this. I do believe that for some young people there are, who are marginalized or do not have communities of support in their, you know, towns or cities where they can find that. So I always say that there are of course some exceptions to this, but for the most part, the stories I hear are enough to make. I’m going to be the bad guy in my house where my, my kids can be angry at me that I am delaying social media access. But again, I am fighting for their future cognitive and emotional health. And that means delaying social media access.
Dr. Sarah (00:23:30):
Right. So my thought is out all I always go to like, how is it to hear this as a parent? Right? How is the parent who’s listening to this. Maybe they’re driving in the car and their kids on the iPad in the back right now. And they’re feeling like their stomach is their heart is in their stomach and they’re feeling a little sweaty and they’re like, oh God, I, I suck. And I really want to, and I know you do too, which is exactly what I’m asking you this. Cause we speak to those parents all the time. Yeah. This is not again, like you were saying one, it’s not your fault because we are all kind of paws of big tech, but also it’s not too late. What can we never do?
Yes. Okay. I love this. So two things, one, I always tell parents to start by replacing judgment with curiosity. I always say parenting is the judge a sport I’ve ever played because oh my gosh, judgment about every parenting decision and screen time is right at the top of that list. So first of all, stop judging yourself, stop judging other people. You can start making changes literally today. And the number one change I know you can do right now as you’re listening and this is free, it’s easy and everyone can do it without any special training. Is this idea of living your life out loud? And what I mean by that is narrating. What we do as we do it, especially as it comes to how we use screens and technology. And this is a beautiful thing because it ties into all these things that we’re talking about.
It ties into executive function. It ties into modeling. It ties into values. So if I have my phone and I need, you know, there’s a text message I say out loud, I have a text message. I’m reaching for my phone to see what it says, oh, look, it’s from dad. And he’s telling me, da da, you just tell your kids are rolling their eyes back in their head. You talk out loud about what you’re doing. This is great modeling executive function skills, right? Like how I’m using this as a tool and not a toy. And I love this. My husband said this to me once and I quote him all the time. He’s like texting is giving someone who’s not in the room permission to interrupt you. Right. So for our children, I always think about what does this look like from a child’s perspective, right?
Because to a kid, the back of my iPhone does not tell the child what we’re doing. It doesn’t tell her how we’re using it as a tool or a toy or a distraction or a doom scrolling device. It looks the same from a child’s perspective. So if we live our life out loud, we start to give them some context for how we’re using it. We also can then start to talk about the emotional feelings around it. So I feel anxious and I’m opening Twitter again. And I’m looking at the news headlines and that makes me more anxious. I probably should put Twitter down. Right? Like naming the feeling that it gives us and helping our kids see that we are human and adults in this too. Like, and, and that we’re not on top of it. Like it’s yeah. We’re not immune. It’s hard for us.
So again, and then giving ourselves again, going back to that, replacing judgment with curiosity. So rather than being like, I’m so addicted or this is so bad, it’s like, I wonder why I feel like I need to look at this. Right. Or I notice that when I’m anxious and I’m scrolling, I don’t actually feel better. “I wonder” and “I notice” are great prompts for pretty much anything in parenting to take the judgment out. Right. So, I mean, I apply this idea at a screen time, but it’s great for a lot of other things in parenting too, like to live your life out loud around, you know, I’m feeling really frustrated that I’ve asked four times for you to come and put your shoes on. Right. So we’re just describing how we’re feeling. Right. And again, our kids need some practice. Like we’ve been, I mean, I always sort of say to parents, like you kind of have to minus two years from that emotional growth, social growth.
And I mean, I’m in as a former teacher. Yeah. Academic growth, but not really cuz none of the academic stuff’s gonna come back until that emotional and social skill stuff. Is there first? Yes. Content is a vehicle for skills. Those skills have got to be there. The content will come. So right. You know, if you have an 11 year old, like I do, I’m like thinking in my brain, she’s nine, she’s behaving like a nine year old. She’s responding like a nine year old and I need to treat her that way. It’s not infantilizing her. Right. It’s it’s recognizing that she is behind and not even again, we all are right. Like, I don’t know if you felt this way when you first sort of emerged from lockdown. But like I just was a chatter box with all these people. I saw all of a sudden cuz it was like I’m out in the world again and it felt weird and
Dr. Sarah (00:27:57):
Different. And you were able to fall back on old skills that you had previously developed for exactly pandemic. And for some of our younger kiddos, they’re not, they don’t have, it’s not like they’re, they’re pulling out a rusty bicycle. They never built the bike.
And it’s okay. Again, it’s not too late because in a lot of ways I think we were forcing kids to grow up too fast. I think there’s a silver lining potentially here. I mean the mental health piece is worrisome, but you know, it’s okay that your kids might need to just play free, play outside without a lot of structured activities. And I mean, in fact, not only is it okay, I think it’s absolutely important and critical for them to have that.
Dr. Sarah (00:28:40):
And I think bringing up COVID is important here because I actually think this has a, this is part of the larger conversation about screen time. Yeah. Right. I think we all myself included, shifted our relationship to screen time and our kids because of this pandemic out of absolute necessity. Yes. Right. Absolutely. Like before COVID like maybe it was a couple episodes of Daniel tiger on the weekend in my house. Right. It was really minimal and that was intentional and that was hard. Right. That was something that I chose to do that my husband and I chose to do, because that was just the way we were attempting to parent. And we had the bandwidth and the…
Dr. Sarah (00:29:18):
The ability to make those limits when COVID hit. And both of us were working full time from home with no childcare, guests who babysat our kids.
Yeah. Daniel Tiger.
Dr. Sarah (00:29:31):
No, you’re absolutely right.
Dr. Sarah (00:29:33):
That was the absolute necessity. And so as a result, my kids became so much more desensitized to the stimulation of television. Yeah. Yep. We’ve been able to still kind of stem the screen like tablet use. We don’t have, we do have tablets that they used to travel with and I’m totally, again like survival mode, airplane, whatever. We just, we do what we can do.
Dr. Sarah (00:29:59):
But, I also think that it’s like, and I talk about this sometimes too is like, we wanna think about the function of the screen time. I firmly believe that if the function of the screen time is for the parents to get a break, then God bless. It’s fine. If the function of the screen time is to regulate my child, to distract my child. Then I might say, what’s a different way I could do that. What’s a more effective strategy.
Right. And you know, my husband, again, I’m apparently quoting him a bit today, but one other thing he said, you know, in the beginning of the pandemic, our use of technology was, was a lifeboat. We needed it for school, for work, for staying in touch with family. How lucky that we had that tool at our disposal. But as he pointed out a lifeboat isn’t long term housing, we were never intended to do this for two years. Certainly not as children. I mean, I think as adults, there’s been some shift in how we work and that may not be a bad thing. It is you’re right. Every parent I talked to, I, you know, it’s like I had all these rules before COVID and then it all went out the door and now pulling back is so hard because again, what we’ve talked about with the brain, but again, I I’m, I’m a bit of a optimist, even though the world can make me feel really cynical.
I think that there’s, it is never too late to make small changes and even small changes matter. The ripple effects are big. And so, you know, to your point, like tablets being intentional about when you use them. So for your children, it’s maybe very clear that those are for travel purposes. Only you don’t travel every day. So it’s a special, sometimes we do it, this thing for even I mean even within the use of screens, we can make choices. Right? If you’re going to watch a show, why is it better that our kids sit together on a couch to watch one show than sit independently with headphones and in two iPads? Well, because there’s actually a lot of skill opportunity in the shared experience. Right? I mean, yeah, it’s still a screen, but they remember this. We have to fight over the remote and which show to watch.
And then that’s good stuff. That’s like natural, like social skill building opportunities. Yes. So it’s again, if the choice is I’m giving them screen time so I can do X, Y, and Z, then give them one screen on which to work together and problem solve and, and try to stay out of it as much as possible. Right. Or set them up with here are the expectations. And now I want you to figure out what you’re gonna do together. Right? Like even those intentional decisions make a difference. Right? The other thing is, I know this is a hard one and I’ve been guilty of this in the past, but do not use screen time to reward or punish. And this is so hard because it works right in the short term, it works. And if you’re a parent who has said, if you don’t do X, you lose screen time, join the club.
I have said that too. We are gonna say that sometimes, cuz we’re not perfect. And I always tell parents, we’re going for 80/20 parenting, which is 80% of the time parenting within the values we have. Right. But if we load it that much, if it’s the thing that kids that motivate our kids, that gets our kids to behave. First of all, it’s just, it’s taking away intrinsic motivation. It’s not, it’s giving so much power to this thing that we don’t, it doesn’t need help. It’s already got power over our kids. So what else can we use to incentivize motivate whatever our parenting strategy is for reward and consequence, but take the screen out of it. Because I, I know again, it’s gonna require some creative thinking and if you can’t think of anything else, there is an opportunity to look at how much power it already has because right. Trust me if your five year old’s got that feeling now at 10 and 15, it’s gonna be way harder, way, way more intense.
Dr. Sarah (00:33:52):
Right. And I think it might be helpful to talk a little bit about like the neuroscience of why, why is it, why do kids have the biggest meltdowns when the screens get taken away? Why do kids feel like their personality changes when they’ve been on screens for too long or when they’re actually using them, they go blank. Like what’s yeah. How do we understand what’s happening in the brain?
Yeah. I’ll say what I say, but you obviously chime in and, and add to it cuz you’re the expert on that. But one of the ways I talk to parents about it is that, you know, when we get a notification or a text, we get a hit a dopamine, right. It’s that? Oh, I got, somebody’s paying attention to me. I’m feeling good. I wanna know what this information is. Like there were social creatures, that’s a, a normal human response. The problem is these rewards come intermittently. Right? So I always use the phrase, intermittent variable rewards, which is essentially this concept of a slot machine. Right. So we don’t win every time, but we win sometimes. And it’s the, sometimes that keep us coming back because it’s not predictable. And I use the example of the Blackberry, like way old school tech, but it used to push notifications like at intervals, right?
Like predictable intervals. So we didn’t feel this compelling need to like open. And like, I mean, how many of us have opened our email app and didn’t see any new emails closed it and immediately opened it again. Right? Like just like within a second, because it might be a new one. Well, that’s us being susceptible to that hit. Right. And because what happens is we’re getting that dopamine surge feels good. We want more of it. So we go back, the problem is every time we go back and we get that next surge, we’re like our brains adapt. Right. So now we’re feeling this at a higher level. And in order to get that same feeling again, we gotta hit higher. We gotta use it more. We’ve gotta look more frequently. So that’s that, that addictive tendency, right? Like that our brains are adapting to this.
Right. And I’m talking about adults, right? So what on earth are we doing to children? Right. Like if we flip out the word screen time for cocaine and we think about what cocaine does or what like, that becomes sort of a horrifying concept. Right. And yet it’s impacting our children’s brains in that same way where we, they want that next hit. They want that. And so when the meltdown comes, it’s because you’ve interrupted that flow of feel good hormones, you are literally stopping this like hijacked neural pathway. So that’s again, when I say it’s not a fair fight, it’s you versus that hijacked neural pathway. But I would love to hear you add to that, like, is that…
Dr. Sarah (00:36:31):
That is very much how I understand the dopamine reward system in the brain, right? Our reward center, our pleasure center in the brain is fed by dopamine. And when we get something that feels novel or rewarding or feels good, and there’s lots of ways for the world to give us that feeling. We get a little ping and we get a little head of dopamine. Yep. And when our kids are watching screens or playing games, they are getting an intensely steady and sometimes, really, really peaked hits above me. Right. So this is one thing that I’ll always say cuz like when my son loves he’s, he’s my daughter, like you could put a show on and she’ll watch for a little bit and she starts to watch. She just doesn’t she doesn’t get in the trance. Yeah. And she’s starting to, I’ll be honest.
My son though is a different kid. Yep. I always joke that there are movers and there are talkers, right. As babies, the talkers get their needs met by being vocal. So they don’t have to move as much. And the movers get their needs met by moving around so they don’t have to talk as much. And then eventually it evens out. But my son was a talker, not a mover. So he’s always been like, he was the kid. I could put him down in front of a toy and he would just sit there and like play with the toy, but he didn’t move that much. And now when he watches TV, he sits there and is in like an absolute trance. And what it looks like to me when I’m watching, is this really relaxed kid?
Dr. Sarah (00:37:56):
That’s just kind of chilling. Yeah. But I know because I know how the brain works, but while his physical body is very relaxed. Yes. His brain, if I had him hooked up to like a machine that was tracking his brainwaves would be all over the charts going, going, going, going, going dopamine and tons of neural activity. There’s so many things going on in his brain, but his body is still yeah. And this there’s two problems with this one, his body isn’t able to get tired to cue him to switch tasks. So like if he was running around the backyard or playing on a trampoline or doing something with a friend that was really rewarding, eventually his physical body would tire because he would just run out of energy and it would be his way of him getting like really yes. Holistic sensory input that I have to take a break. Yes. My body’s done. My brain is done. Yes. I need a break.
Yes. When we see kids push themselves past those limits is when we start to see meltdowns. Right. But the problem is is with TV and screens, the body is not working at all to serve that, that queue function. It’s not getting any signal, physiological signal that I’m tired and I’m done, but the brain is the brain is still getting spent. Yes. And so I think that’s one of the other reasons why you see really big meltdowns after we turn off the screen one, because yes, we are interrupting that dopamine reward system. And they are like, there’s like a withdrawal, like whoa gave me my dopamine back, where is my dopamine? And they get very angry and agitated there’s one reason. But then also they become incredibly dysregulated because their brain is absolutely taxed to maximum capacity. Yes. Yes. And they didn’t have any breaks. Like their body would normally act as a break, but the body is not engaged in any way to work as a break when they’re watching screens. Cuz it’s so sedentary.
Yeah. I love that. And, and it’s one reason why I always tell parents too, like if you’re gonna do the screen time, you have to build in time for the meltdown. Just assume it’s gonna happen and meltdown for 15 year olds too. Right. Like it’s not just the five year olds, but what are you going to provide? Like they need an outlet to burn off that physical ex energy that has been passive to regulate. Right? Like, so maybe it’s I know you’re not gonna, like when I’m turning this off or the timer has gone off or you know, the show has ended and I know you have all this body energy that needs to go somewhere. So whatever it is running up and down the stairs 10 times, and then we’ll talk, right. Like you don’t immediately try to engage them in like rational conversation. And I right. And yet I, I mean, this is adults do this. Like we numb ourselves right. With our use of screens because the feelings are hard. Right. It’s easier to just distract with Netflix or whatever because, or social media, because we don’t want to do that hard, uncomfortable stuff. And yeah. And I get it. I mean, again, it’s about balancing our own consumption. Right.
Dr. Sarah (00:41:01):
I mean, I don’t think anyone is arguing that we should never, ever, ever have screens as adults or as children. I mean, I obviously think it’s different amounts for different bodies. Yeah. Just like your example of chocolate, right? Like right. You can eat chocolate, but you’re not gonna have chocolate every single day cuz you’re gonna get a tummy ache.
Right, right, right. And I’m glad that you brought up the example of your two kids, cuz with even, even within the same household, you might have the same rules, the same approach to screen time and have, because your kids are completely different people. They don’t respond the same way. I mean, this is the problem, you know, it’s not a one size fits all solution. It’s not, you know, it’s like when parents say, well how much screen time is too much, they want a number. Well, I know for a fact that one hour screen time for my 11 year old is gonna land real differently than one hour for my 14 year old for a variety of reasons. And, and that we, you know, we have to know our own kids well enough for that. The other thing that you’re pointing out about the passivity of the physical body while the brain is hyper and engaged, is the challenge of screen time that’s happening in the school setting, right?
Yes. Because I understand technology can be a tool. And I know there are certain things that we need to teach our children and media literacy is one of them, digital citizenship, how to type, oh my gosh, how to type, I know so many kids who don’t know how to type, but they have their own phones and iPads, right? Like skills, skills, skills, right. And yet what are we doing if we’re like asking kids to watch a video, to learn a lesson, right? We’re not experiencing the learn. The learning that happens when a teacher is engaging, a student in the content is a completely different experience for the brain and body. Right. And so this is another concern I have about how much technology is being used in the, in the classroom. Right? Like that again, a little is okay. And a lot is too much, which is not very helpful, but that’s what I say.
Dr. Sarah (00:42:52):
Right. But I think that’s really important cuz there is not a blanket prescription. You need to know so much nuance and everything’s very individualized. And I think one of the problems in schools is you can’t individualize a classroom. And so when you do these kind of like broad strokes, technological, you know, exercises or activities for kids in school, I mean, obviously I know in the pandemic we’re, we’re making the best set of what we got, but as kids are now regularly in the classroom, you know, how can we create projects that are more engaged in more real life? Why can like project based learning? Yeah. And, and other types of like more active, engaged, yeah. Child led stuff. Even for much older kids.
I agree. It should be that unfortunately, because schools spent so much money on tech for remote learning, they’re not walking away from it. Right. And so this fight has become bigger because they can’t justify having spent these millions of dollars on apps and laptops and tech and then not use them. Right. And so I, I mean, again, as a former teacher, like I so much empathy for teachers on so many levels right now, but I feel like they’re being asked to, you know, be the guide on the side as the ed tech industry likes to say that teachers don’t need to be the primary person in the room. Now it can be technology doing it. Right. But we know that learning happens in the context of relationships to other people, it’s people that we need our children to be interacting with. Right. And, and again, it’s like the screen time problem was an issue pre pandemic for like home screen time and that, you know, a little bit at school, but like now it’s, again, even well-intentioned families with screen time limits at home are up against the demands from school. And I don’t mean middle school only I’m I’m talking like elementary school students with iPads, like, which is not developmentally what children in elementary school need. Right. Right.
Dr. Sarah (00:44:55):
So it’s not, not for learning, certainly not for learning.
No. And again, on occasion, like going to a computer lab, like when we were growing up once a week using an iPad to learn a, a tech based skill or some sort of cool thing, you can only use on tech. Great. But yeah, but it’s the exception, not the rule.
Dr. Sarah (00:45:13):
Right. And then it makes me go back to this idea that you brought up earlier of displacement. Yes. Right. Like I do a lot of work with very young parent, like early parents with babies and gross motor development comes up a lot. Yes. And we talk a lot about like, you know, giving children a lot of access to uninterrupted and unrestricted gross motor development so that we’re not putting them in a lot of contraptions or things that restrict their movement. Because when we do that, we are displacing time that could be spent for practicing gross motor development. So yes, like it’s the same idea. Like if we’re giving kids all of these screens and technological tools to use in school, take place of learning to say, to take place of learning, there’s my 40 and slip right. To facilitate learning. What’s not getting learned in that time. So if a kid is spending two hours of, they’re probably already limited day on a screen, what isn’t happening in those two hours. And I think, you know what we were saying earlier about executive functioning skills and other types of more sort of nuanced social, emotional learning is not happening.
Right. And it used to be that schools were the screen free place. It used to be, I mean, 10 years ago, certainly maybe even five or six years ago, that is not the case anymore. So if we were talking about how much total screen use a kid gets a day and we were looking just sort of at home, you know, an hour or two a day. I mean, it’s still a lot. And it depends on the kid or it depends on the age. Depends on the content. But like now what if your kids get in two or three hours at school and then comes home and has two or three hours, five hours? Like if you’re, are you talking about a five, like even a 17 year old, I feel like that’s too much. It’s too much for adults. Right. So right. Again, this is that like what, what do we, what do we gain, right?
Like, and this is three questions I ask, you know, we choose to use tech, whatever it is for learning for entertainment, for distraction, three questions, what do we gain? What do we lose or replace? What do we model? Right. And so again, sometimes the answer might be, I get 30 minutes to go do what I need to do without distraction and guilt. I don’t care that maybe they could be outside, but they were outside for 30 minutes and they were doing this with friends for 30 minutes. So I feel good about it. And sometimes it’s okay to use a screen to distract ourselves. Like those are the answers to that maybe, but, but we can’t do that all the time. Right? Like there has to be. I mean, that’s, that’s the other thing is like, it’s, it’s a lot of work to parent without a screen. Yes it is. Because the easy parenting solution is here you go. And again, these tech companies are gonna say, oh, this is educational. Your kids gonna learn this. You’re gonna, but see, this is I’m quoting Dr. Dmitri Christakis on this, which is that anything is educational. It’s just, what do you want it to be teaching? It’s like greenwashing things. If you call something natural, we feel less guilty using it environmentally speaking. Right. Right. But if you call an app educational, we feel less guilty as parents cuz it’s teaching our kids something.
Dr. Sarah (00:48:26):
Honestly, I’d rather you pay a few dollars for a high quality app that doesn’t have in-app advertising than let your kids go on YouTube. Right. Or just download the free version. Like there’s even again, the nuances within your choices can matter. Right?
Dr. Sarah (00:48:40):
Yeah. And that’s, oh gosh, we had have so many spinoff conversations about, and I feel like we might have to at some point, cuz I bet you, people are gonna have questions because I feel like we’ve kind of pre presented a lot of the concerns. And I feel like we have to follow up with some concrete solutions and I realize that like it’s complicated. We can’t, like we’re saying it’s very individualized. So solutions are going to be challenging. But like what are a couple things like I’m I have two big questions that I want to sort of see if we can answer. Yeah. One is in the home. What are some things parents can do to find a little bit more balance and to if they feel like after listening to this, they’d like to make some intentional shifts to their screen time use. But they’re also really aware that they’re wedged in right now. Yep. Like what can we do as parents at home to start to reduce in a way that like doesn’t make us really overwhelmed. And then the other question is for the schools, what can parents do to advocate and just even just become more educated consumers. Yeah. With regards to the tech in schools because parents do have a voice.
Dr. Sarah (00:49:53):
And how can they use it?
Yes. And I’m glad we’re ending on a positive too, because I want parents to feel empowered. Like this is a very heavy topic. It’s like the thing we fight about the most in our families. But here’s, here’s a few things one as parents, I always say this, like I’ve told you all this information, don’t go change anything yet because it’ll backfire. You’ve gotta lay this groundwork slowly and intentionally. And that’s gonna start with two things. Looking at our own screen use as adults. That’s number one. And number two is thinking about our values as a family and identifying very clearly what those are. Because when we can make, when we can identify the values that we have, and I always tell parents pick like two, maybe three, do not pick a list of 20. That’s ridiculous. It doesn’t mean you don’t value those things, but go to get the top what’ floats to the top, then all future decisions are grounded in that.
So if you’ve for example, value togetherness, then togetherness. What does that look like in your house? Well might mean that we eat dinner together as a family at the dinner table. If we have devices out on the dinner table, that’s not togetherness. That’s letting the other people interrupt us and distract us. Right. So, so we get real concrete, real specific about what that would look like. That’s not gonna happen in one day, right? This is a process. So starting by identifying those values and of course our own parental use. So like our modeling matters. So I would say to parents immediately start by living your life out loud. Like we talked about, which is just, you personally narrating everything you’re doing around your tech and not with judgment, right? Like not judging. And if you can get your parenting partner involved too great. It’s like, we’re doing this together.
We’re gonna help hold each other accountable and you don’t even say anything to the kids yet. That’s the important thing. They need to see that you are willing to make some changes and acknowledge that this is a challenge before they’re gonna do anything. Right. And that’s okay. That’s that’s gonna set you up for success, right? So those are the few things I would say to parents for right now for school stuff. Generally speaking, most schools, particularly public schools are leaning much more towards tech, more tech more often. That’s not always the case or some exceptions. I would always encourage parents to start with an informational conversation, not confrontational because you never go anywhere with confrontational, but to ask, can you give me a sense of how much screen time my child is using during the screen day? And for what purpose? I’m just curious.
I’m trying to figure this out because it will help me know what I say at home. Right? You can present it as like we’re in this together. So starting with your child’s teacher again, get that information first. You might also even just start by looking at the school policy, like, is there a policy, for example, about smartphones in schools? I think most elementary schools have ones that are, you know, like they don’t allow them, but that’s not always true. And certainly middle schools, it’s very all over the place. There’s some that are unlimited. You can have your phone all day, every day. And then there’s others that have some phones away for the day policies, but the problem is enforcement, right? Like some teachers might do it. Other teachers won’t. And you know, speaking of spinoffs, there’s a whole nother conversation about equity here too, right?
Like if we’re talking about kids having $600 smartphones in their pockets, and some kids don’t have access to that and teachers are asking kids to use their phones for schoolwork, like huge issues, right? Yes. Plus safety and all of the other, other pieces. Again, that’s a whole different podcast probably, but again, just start with curiosity, right? Like stop, go and approach with the judgment. Start with curiosity and listen to your gut. If you’re coming, if your kids coming home and at six years old and feeling like I’m supposed to learn how to read using this app, and that doesn’t feel right to you. I mean, I’m gonna say you’re right. It’s not, that’s not how children need to learn to read. And so to ask the questions like to pose the questions, I’m feeling uncomfortable with this, can you help me understand the benefits? Or can you gimme some of the background on why you chose this app as the tool for teaching reading, or math or whatever it is and getting that information first. And then again, taking that information back and saying like, here are my concerns. Can you help me understand it?
Dr. Sarah (00:54:05):
Right. And I think at the end of the day too, I mean, I, you can say, no, you could say, we’re gonna opt out of that assignment. You actually get to do that. And I don’t know if parents always know, like you can say no to the assignments being given to your child. Yeah. And usually schools will work with you to have an alternative. So you can say like, we’re gonna opt out of that. And some, and like you can, some schools will care or not care about whether you supplant it with something else, but you can say like, we’re gonna do this instead. And your child will usually be able to get credit for the work, you know, like that there are ways that you can advocate for your kids. And you get to say, as a parent.
Yeah. I support that wholeheartedly. We’ve done that with my son. I opted him out of all tech based assignments. His science curriculum was all digitized. And I was like, no, you need to print it off. I’m not, he’s not gonna read the assignment on an, on a screen. Like, that’s, there’s no benefit. It’s just tech for Tech’s sake in that sense. Right. Like, yeah. Again, that’s very different than like showing a video about a model of an earth or, you know, like that’s different. Right? Right. Not all tech is created equal and absolutely parents have the right to opt out. The reason I, I would invite you to get curious first. So that, that doesn’t present itself as a confrontation. No,
Dr. Sarah (00:55:21):
I think, I think that’s like your last ditch.
By although if maybe your first ditch, if your values are that that’s not what good learning looks like. You do have the right as a parent. This is, it is outrageous to me that to request pen and pencil in this day and age in school is considered an act of rebellion. I mean, it is. Schools are, it’s frustrating for them. And, and here’s the thing, again, empathy, big empathy for teachers, because what they’ve been asked to do is above and beyond and above and beyond, and yeah. To ask them to then specially do something for my child, I recognize that puts a different responsibility on them. Yeah. So to find a way to do that as a team, as a partnership, to say like this, I understand this, isn’t your decision to use these apps or devices that this is a school decision and that you’re the messenger, but here’s why this is important to us as a family.
And I will be able to, how, how can I support you? Right? Because we want this, we need the support of our teacher. And, you know, teachers are gonna get, there’s a lot of variation in their own beliefs about it too. Right. You know, younger teachers versus older teachers. It’s very interesting to hear their views on technology cuz it’s yeah. It’s shifted. And that, you know, that’s again a whole nother, a whole nother talk, but it’s, you know, and then again, probably a whole nother episode is the, is the privacy and data concerns that come with what kids are using in terms of apps at school, because these third party companies are collecting information about your children. And most parents don’t know that most parents have no idea what their kid’s data is being used for.
Dr. Sarah (00:56:51):
Right. So let me, let me just put a little call out to everyone who’s listening. Yes. Everyone I’m sure is walking away from this episode with follow up questions and I encourage you to ask them yes. Go to my Instagram and DM me @drsarahbren. DM me your questions. And specifically in your DM, say like tech podcast question and we will put together a list of questions you guys have and see if we can get away the answer them for you, because this is a big conversation that requires time and nuance that’s because it’s this isn’t, it’s just, it is.
Yeah. And it feels very overwhelming. And I do wanna make sure I circle back to the fact that like, it’s all, even the small incremental change matters. So do not go home and like throw all the iPads out the window. Like it’s not gonna work and that’s not the solution ultimately.
Dr. Sarah (00:57:48):
No. And that’s gonna alienate you and your children. So like, like it’s gonna polarize the two of you. We don’t like, I really think this idea of like, it’s, if you can envision what you were saying before. Exactly. Embody this idea that it is me and my child against the technology and not all technology, but big tech, you know, you are on the same team. We need to look at our kids as our partners in this. And not as our adversaries, this is bigger than them. It’s bigger than us. And so like, I think it’s very important that we understand everything in that context.
Right. And I always say to parents, it’s, it’s both, and it’s not either, or like we are here together because it’s connection. And I know you talk about this a lot too. Like it is in the connection, in our relationship to our children, that we will build this solution together. We cannot top down this. We cannot. And again, it’s hard. I see this as somebody who fights with my kids sometimes about screen time, but like we have to remember that the most important thing first is our connection to our children and that when that is stable and solid, that’s the place from which we can build the screen time limits and the rules and the safety things.
Dr. Sarah (00:58:58):
A hundred percent.
So, don’t give up.
Dr. Sarah (00:59:00):
You so much for coming on and sharing all of this with us. I think it is such an important pile of information and yeah, this is really helpful to me. And I’m sure it’s helpful to a lot of people listening.
Well, thank you for having me. I love talking about this, so I’m happy to answer questions too. And, and I have a website, so you can find me there as well, ironically.
Dr. Sarah (00:59:23):
Yes, so I was just gonna say, so if people want to know more about this yes. What can, how can they connect with you? Where can they learn more about this? You have so many great resources for people.
Well, ironically, I’m on social media. So I already admit fully that that’s potentially hypocritical and I really don’t like it. So I’m, I’m having my own internal struggle with this, but I am I’m on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and I, and I post pretty much similar content across the platform. So you, if you prefer one you’ll, you’ll see the same kind of thing for the most part. And I do have a website and I write, I actually write some essays for medium on my medium page, which tend to be a little more thought pieces about parenting in the digital age. But actually one of my favorite resources is my YouTube channel, where I post tech intentional tips. And they’re just like two or 30 minute little tips about how parents can be more tech intentional. So those are helpful and fun. And then if you wanna to dive deeper, I do teach a parenting course called Becoming A Tech Intentional Parent. And I’m launching my newest iteration will start in September. So my website will have more information about how to register for that as well for parents who wanna go deeper.
Dr. Sarah (01:00:29):
Amazing. Okay. We’ll put links to that all in the show notes so that people can find it.
Dr. Sarah (01:00:34):
Thank you so much, Emily.
Well, it’s been an honor to be here. Yeah. Thank you for the work you do too. I’ve learned a lot from you and I’m grateful that you’re putting your message out there too, cuz it it’s important for parents to hear.
Dr. Sarah (01:00:46):
If you’re interested in additional resources for parenting support, head over to my website, drsarahbren.com. There you’ll find free guides to help you with everything from planning for your postpartum, to fostering resilience in your child, to creating a successful toddler bedtime routine. And check out my newest free guide Reduced Tantrums Before They Even Begin, in which I equip you with an understanding of what happens in your child’s brain and body when they have a tantrum so you’re able to most effectively help them. Plus five fun and simple games that strengthen their emotion regulation ability to prevent meltdowns from happening in the first place. Go to drsarahbren.com and click the resources tab to download this free guide along with many other workbooks. That’s drsarahbren.com. Thanks for listening. And until next week don’t be a stranger.
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