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Kids and electronics at bedtime

Tips for keeping kids away from electronics at

Tips for keeping kids away from electronics at bedtime. Credit: iStock

Q. Can you suggest ways to deal with getting kids off technology at bedtime?

A. "The hour before bed should be a no-electronics time," says Dr. Jill Creighton, assistant professor of pediatrics at Stony Brook Children's Hospital. TV, computer, phone, tablet, anything with a screen should be put away. Here's how she suggests implementing that rule:

Explain that studies have shown that the light from backlit electronics such as tablets, smartphones and video game displays can disrupt the ability to fall and stay asleep. "The burst of light from a phone, even if it's just to check the time, can affect a sleep cycle," she says.

Designate a spot in your home for electronics to stay overnight. The spot should be outside the bedroom. "One alternative I love is to put a basket on your dining room table where all electronics are held during nighttime," Creighton says. The following day's screen time can be a reward for cooperation, she says.

Don't cave in to requests to keep the cellphone in the bedroom as an alarm clock. "A regular alarm clock is best," Creighton says.

Replace screen time with another bedtime activity. "Nighttime rituals are going to be age-dependent," she says. It could be time to read a book or play a family game.

Be a good role model. Turn off your screens an hour before bed as well. Show your kids you are practicing the same good habit.

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