How to Make Kids Give Up Gadgets and Take Up Books and Toys


I have to admit, I was often wondering on how to make kids give up gadgets and take up books or toys instead. It’s easy to say, just turn off the TV, take away the tablet or smartphone and lay out a bunch of toys in front of your toddler. The truth is, there are going to be a lot of tantrums, a lot of tears and before the day is over you might feel like it’s better to give in.

We are in an age where children are more likely to be entertained than entertain themselves. Television is an easy way to play “babysitter” while you get some things done, but your toddlers should learn the necessary skills to occupy their minds without relying on technology.

kids give up gadgets

How to Make Kids Give Up Gadgets

Read a book

You want to transition gently. It’s going to be a shock to the system of your toddler if all of a sudden there are no games on your smartphone or no shows on TV. Start by reading a book yourself even if the child is watching television. With their curious little minds, they might wander over and pay attention to the book instead. You can choose one of the best books for toddlers.

If they don’t, it’s not a big deal, you just have to try something else.

Set A Timer

Even at a young age kids understand the concept of a timer. Use a simple Kitchen Timer or some mobile app. When they hear the buzz it’s time to switch activities. Set the timer for 50 or 55 minutes where they get to be on the tablet or watching TV. When the timer goes off take out a book or some blocks and start playing with your child. Over time you can set the timer for less time. For example, you can set the timer for forty minutes and then take your toddler outside for play time.

The child might end up hating the timer but find ways to make it fun for them. Show some excitement for a new activity when the timer goes off.

And the last and the most important tip for how to make kids give up gadgets:

Be prepared for some tantrums

If you are also wondering how to make kids give up gadgets, this might be the hardest step for you. If the toddler throws a tantrum just remember, children love attention. Give them time to throw their fit and when they’re ready, continue on to the next activity. The tantrums won’t last, so be strong.

You can start playing with their favorite toys in front of them. Don’t pay them any attention at all and just play. They will soon become interested and start playing with you.

Do you have some tips and tricks on how to make kids give up gadgets?

*And just for full disclosure, there might be affiliate links in this post How to Make Kids Give Up Gadgets. That means that I’m sharing something that I think is helpful, and if you make a purchase through the link, I earn a little bit back. No extra cost to you, and just a little help for me to pay for the blog expenses.

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  • Reply swathi May 14, 2015 at 1:36 am

    Very useful post Marina. My kids are additicted to I Pad. If I didn’t give them their tantrum is too much. Yes my little guy will leave I pad If I read book to him.

  • Reply Julia @ Rock It Like A Mom May 14, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    I’ve heard it said so many times “the best way to get your child’s attention is to answer the phone”! And it’s so true! As soon as you are “unavailable”, that’s when they want to get involved!
    So I’m LOVING the reading idea, as well as just playing without them! It would literally take SECONDS for my daughter to find her way over to dive right in with me!
    Great ideas!

    • Reply Marina May 18, 2015 at 8:30 am

      Yes, that is so true – when we ignore them, then they just want to play with us 🙂 Answering the phone idea is awesome!

  • Reply Reelika @Financially Wise On Heels May 14, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    I have been wondering the same way! There is always something new to learn as a mother and I enjoy growing with my son. Thanks for these wonderful tips 🙂

  • Reply Sheena May 15, 2015 at 12:38 am

    My children are 9 and 10 and I have taken away devices and made them read books. The first week they fussed about it but after the first week they have accepted it so much more. Now they know depending on their attitudes they will get to play devices more or less.

  • Reply Meredith May 16, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Great advice! Leading by example is SO important, and the “activity timer/switch” is a fun idea, too. No kids yet, but when the time comes I’ll definitely want ones that can learn to entertain themselves. Thanks for these!

  • Reply Bev May 16, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    I’ve been trying to hold off on giving my toddler electronics because I know how easy it is for them to want to play with them. It’s tough, though, since she often sees me on my phone or computer. Of course whenever she sees my phone she wants to play with it and press the buttons! (And she is definitely not happy when I take it away.) Only recently has she really started to show interest in books and I hope that trend continues. As you suggested, I try to read my own books in front of her to show that it is a fun activity. I have visions one day of us reading our books side-by-side together — we’ll see if that happens! Great tips, stopping by from SITS.

  • Reply Jes @ Deadpan Diaries May 16, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Those are great ideas. We try to just let our kids play on gadgets on the weekend, but we can definitely get lazy on a bad week:)

    Saw your post on the SITS Share.

  • Reply Leanne | The Transplanted Southerner May 16, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    My kids are older, and we had one become severely addicted to “screens”. We had to remove them ALL cold turkey, and it was tough. It took 3 months to really make a change (these addictions don’t happen overnight, so they don’t leave in a day or two either). He did tell me, after visiting with his friends, how glad he was he didn’t play so much anymore (he now has limited screen time) because that was ALL they could talk about. It’s an epidemic.

  • Reply Brandi Clevinger May 23, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    My kids don’t have as much time with their electronics that they use to have, but it’s still in large proportions I believe. During the school year it’s not as much, but I plan on approaching it differently this summer. I have a summer bucket list and I plan on focusing more time on family than on electronics. I know there will be down days especially when I have fibromyalgia, but I want those days to be rare to where they appreciate the screen time.

    Thank you for sharing your tips at #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup ! This post was one of my favorite posts from this week’s linkup and will be featured during tomorrow’s linkup on my site, Being Fibro Mom, at

    Hope to see you linkup next week!

    • Reply Marina May 25, 2015 at 9:25 am

      You really made my day 🙂 I am so happy you liked my post, there were so many great posts at the linkup 🙂

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