6 Basic Rules for Kids + Technology

6 Basic Rules for Kids plus Technology

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / dolgachov

I came across an interesting article this week on apps that help you control your use of apps – and other digital distractions!  Have you ever thought about how much of your day is spent on a screen? Most of us think that it’s not much, and yet we keep our phones at the ready in outside pockets, our kindle sits on the desk waiting for break time and a good read, and the laptops are there when we quickly want to know the difference between Instagram and Snapchat.  Now, if we are so enamored with our devices, what about the kids?

I recently gave a talk titled Reducing Kid’s Screen Time … Without the Battle, to a group of parents who were quite frustrated with trying to handle their kid’s use of technology.  I divided the talk into two parts because I felt that there were two distinct areas that had to be considered.

Part One: Your Relationship with Your Kids

Part One included spending a lot of time talking about Your Relationship With Your Kids, i.e. Who is in Charge?  I reminded them that ultimately it is the parent’s job … to parent.  I suggested they give themselves a little test and try being the objective person who looks in on the family dynamic, and then answer that question: Who is in Charge?

Regardless of the whining or the reasoning or the quality of the tantrum, it is the parent who has the power over both the child and the device.  I shared a few basic rules that I feel are important when dealing with kids and technology.  They are simple and straightforward.


1 – Give kids a 10 minute warning before unplugging (and let them keep the timer)

2 – No technology use in the bedroom

3 – No technology use in the car (except long-distance car trips)

4 – No technology use during meals

5 – Devices must be turned off 30 minutes before bedtime

6 – Parents control the central charging station – often the kitchen

Part 2: Your Relationship with Technology

Now I think you see where I’m going with Part Two in the challenge of reducing kid’s screen time, The Relationship With Yourself. This is a very important part of the dynamic because children are copycats, and you are their ROLE MODEL.   Whether you signed up for that job or not, you’re it.

This is where awkward comes in.  We all love our devices.  We defend them as time savers, gold mines of research, our link to friends and family, and so much more. We often deny that we use them ‘that much,’ and we even get mad at store clerks and receptionists who are checking their email and Facebook.  In fact, I’ll bet that you would be truly surprised to find out how much time in a day you actually spend in front of a screen.

Because I want you to realize how your day is spent, and because I want to remind you that you are your child’s role model, and because I think that we all need to make more time to interact with each other, I offer this article.  Become familiar with apps like StayFocusd, Momentum., and RescueTime. I intend to. The more you are in control of your own screen time activities, the more time you will have for your family.


Now, go play with your kids.


Make Happy a Habit-Join the 30 Day Challenge!

 Make Happy a Habit with Loretta Saff

Are You Ready to MAKE HAPPY A HABIT?  

Get ready…, Get set…, Go!  It’s almost March 20th, the United Nations-sanctioned International Day of Happiness. This is the day we make sure to not only do what makes us happy but also to spread happiness by encouraging all around us to do the same. But what if you just don’t feel happy? What if you call yourself more of a ‘glass half-empty’ kind of person?

Assuming that you really don’t enjoy being that way, I challenge you to take the next 30 days to MAKE HAPPY A HABIT! I’ll give you the steps so you become empowered to look at the world differently and feel the joy and contentment you deserve. The #makehappyahabit campaign begins March 20th. You’ll see daily support on Instagram, Facebook, TwitterPinterest and anywhere else you can help me  ‘share’ it.

Strong and Healthy

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / 4774344sean

There is real science behind the emotions of happiness and love. Dr. Barbara Frederickson, Psychologist and Neuroscience Professor at UNC, Chapel Hill said, The ways that we feel happiness and well-being are actually showing up in the cells of our immune system and supporting our health.”  What a great testimonial!  Why wouldn’t we want to Make Happy a Habit?

My challenge to you is based on the work of psychologist and happiness researcher, Shawn Achor. Surprising as it sounds, he says that it is possible to re-wire your brain to be happier.

Rewire Your Brain Make Happy a Habit

You don’t have to wear a smiley-face hat or tell funny jokes. Simply doing the following five activities daily can rewire your brain towards happiness. (I include my order to just give you some idea of fitting it into your day. You organize it however it is convenient for you.)

 1 – Think of three things you’re grateful for.

I like to do this – out loud – in the morning when I get up. I encourage those around me to join in.  It’s a good family tradition.

2 – Write about a positive experience from the past 24 hours.

I do this in the evening. I keep a notebook on my nightstand. This simple activity has the amazing power of changing your entire mindset. You will comb through the day, tossing aside the negative and focusing on the positive.  Guaranteed to make you smile.

 3 – Exercise (at least 20 min)

I am a morning person, so I make time before breakfast to get in my exercise. Whether it is a brisk walk, time at the gym, or climbing stairs, give yourself 20 minutes and increase your activity.  I’m including  four short videos of easy five-minute exercises on my website. Do all four in a day and you’ll have your 20 minutes!

 4 – Meditate (5-7 min)

I find that meditating mid-afternoon works for me.  No need to think mantras or posing cross-legged on the carpet. The simplest meditation can be sitting quietly listening to soothing music  (no words) – and focusing on either the music, your breathing, or a body scan from head toe. If you want some guidance, I like the free app HEADSPACE, which you can use with your earphones while sitting at your desk.  Meditation calms and centers, helping you focus and better handle whatever comes your way.

 5 – Perform one random act of kindness.

All day every day is a good time for a random act of kindness. Performing a selfless act that helps, compliments, or encourages someone has an amazing effect on all involved.  You’ll enjoy every minute.  To help get you started, I’ll post of list of suggestions on my website,

YOU CAN DO THIS!  In fact, YOU CAN GET YOUR KIDS TO DO THIS!!! Encourage everyone around you to get involved.


© Can Stock Photo Inc. / dolgachov

I will post the MAKE HAPPY A HABIT! Challenge on social media starting March 20th, and it will continue for 30 days.  Don’t worry if you come upon it in the middle; just get on board and get started. You keep count of your 30 days.

Please leave a note on one of the platforms below or comment on this blog post to let me know how you are doing. Post some pictures of what you are grateful for and what makes you happy. I want to know how your random acts of kindness and writing about your positive experiences made you feel. Tell me about your time in meditation. And be sure to tell me when you start feeling like HAPPY is becoming a habit.

Good luck! And get your camera ready – you’ll be finding yourself smiling a lot more.



Share Your Progress by:

  1. Instagram – FOLLOW @MAKEHAPPYAHABIT for inspiration and share your own pictures of what makes you happy
  2. Facebook – LIKE /MAKEHAPPYAHABIT and post an update about how the challenge is changing your outlook
  3. Twitter – FOLLOW @ACCOMPLISHCOACH and tweet your own progress
  4. Pinterest – FOLLOW /ACCOMPLISHCOACH and start a Happiness board

Don’t forget to include #makehappyahabit in your posts

Photo Credits: brain-circuit-2939906 / Celebelle

Control the Things You Can Control



Next time you find yourself ‘stuck’ and wondering what to do, here’s a piece of advice to remember:



Stop for a moment and repeat this mantra to yourself.  Then follow it!

Think about how often you assume you know what other people are thinking (She thinks I’m showing off; He thinks I eat too fast) so you respond based on that. Alert: you cannot read other people’s minds.

Sure, it sounds logical and so simple.  Yet often we are caught up in the details of a situation and decide that if only other people would do_ _ _ _ _ _ , it would solve everything. Another alert: Try as you might, you cannot make people change.

Save Yourself Frustration

It will save you a lot of frustration and headaches to simply remember to “Control the things you can control.”

Here is a situations I often hear:

I’ve gone on several interviews for a new job, and the interviewers don’t seem to really care about what they are doing. When I answer their questions, they seem to barely listen. I’m a good worker and well qualified. How can I make them pay more attention?

Here I try to make clients realize that to improve the situation, they have to work with what they really can do. I’ll ask them to really consider how they project themselves. Perhaps they should rethink their questions so they really interest the interviewer.  And, of course, remember to smile and act confident. These are within a person’s control.

Another situation:

My eight year-old daughter has a friend whose parents are really laid back. When my child goes to their house, the kids sometimes end up eating junk food and watching scary movies. When my daughter comes home, she can’t fall asleep and doesn’t feel that good. How can I tell those parents that they have to be aware of what the kids are doing?

Change the parents? That idea not only won’t work but also will probably cause a break between the kids. So I ask, “What can you really do?” That’s when ideas like:

      • “Make most play dates at our house;”
      • “Limit playtime with that child to a short right-after- school visit,” and even
      • “I could take the kids to a park or somewhere myself.”

Remote Control

Just thinking about controlling what you can control makes you choose solutions you know you can implement. It’s amazing what control you do have when you think about it. 


Photo credits: © Can Stock Photo Inc. / ra2studio, / bds, Celebelle