I feel like my 5-year-old is addicted to technology...advice?

I feel like my 5 year old son is addicted to TV and his tablet. I never wanted him to watch much TV or anything but life changed and we dont have a village to help us out. So unfortunately, we have relied on technology more than we should just to get a moment of peace. His attitude is so poor. He’s bossy. He’s got a lot of toys but won’t play with them much without me or his dad playing with him. He’s always asking for new toys though.Bedtime, we try laying with him but it’s been taking about hour lately to get him to sleep. And we’re so burnt out, that hour would help us to unwind a little.How to do help a child to not rely on technology when bored/not having someone to play with? My sanity can’t just abruptly take it because I cannot sit and play all day, unfortunately.


It may be a good.idea to set aside a time when he can play on those things.

It may be a good idea to do fun and educational things with him the rest of the time.

My husband and I had to limit all screen time. We make our daughter earn it, she’s also 9 so a bit older. She reads for 30 minutes a day and has to have an hour of creative time (drawing coloring diamond art) and she does a word search on weekends then she gets 3 hours of screen time and and hour and half for a movie before bed.

The first couple days taking it away completely might be rough but he’ll tune back into reality

I’m the odd one here probably but we don’t have TV, we have a physical TV and a DVD player but we never paid to have satellite installed. My husband and I have been together for 8 years, we have a 4 year old and a 1 year old. We just worked so much initially that it didn’t make sense to pay for it if and we just kind of never did afterwards.
Our oldest daughter, 4, watches a movie on her own little portable DVD player maybe a couple times a week, and we might sit down as a family once a week and watch a movie at night before bed. There’s times that the TV is off for days at a time.

She is pretty self sufficient but we also try to get her involved in whatever we’re doing. Today she helped me make soap, watched me make dinner, and she did “school” which was just her telling me what letters were what. We also have animals and they go out and do chores with me in the mornings.

There’s no perfect way to do things, best advice is to do more with him and limit his screen time. It should be a treat to watch/use not something to keep him quiet.

It would stink the first few days but it sounds like he needs a technology detox, that should help with bedtime. It’s beneficial for children to play by themselves and not constantly be entertained.


We just turn the internet off for a week or two if my son starts getting too attached so it’s not an option. We all benefit from it. Sometimes the first day or two are hard but then his playing really kicks into gear


Have you tried playing audiobooks or audiobook podcasts? If we have to rely on tv we also like doing kids documentary shows so it’s actually educational then they get interested in that topic and we will go to the library and find picture books on the topic.


Have you thought that he needs screen time and it helps with his visual and auditory stimuli?

I feel your pain my 5 year old will stay in all night switching between her tablet and everyone’s phone. She does go to school so I figured it would make her tires but nope. This just started recently she use to sleep through the night no problem. I tried taking everything away and she screams waking up her siblings. I wish I could give you advice but I’m going through it with you!

I make my Gbabies color, paint, finger paint. I buy construction paper, scissors, modeling clay (better than play doh) all at the dollar tree. Look up little projects they can do on Pinterest.

Baths are on the list. Bubble baths with color changing tablets.

We even tried buying a bunk bed with a slide lol.

They also help me make cookies. Doing the ez stuff. I keep them away from the stove. Make them wash their hands often.

I struggle as well. The tablets and video games can be a bit much. I try to limit their time, but winters suck bc they don’t get much play time outside.

You are the parent! I have a 3 year old and he has a tablet and watches tv, but he knows when we say times is up…that his time is up! You have to teach them limitations.


My kids are 30 & 40 …we didn’t have tablets, phones etc when they were little. Was unheard of to have TV in the bedroom or games consoles . We had 5 channels on tv . They played outside in all weathers, we went to the park , picnics in the garden, played with lego , coloured in or read books. They learned to be at peace with themselves . Enjoying their own company…I think a lot of today’s problems are caused by technology. Kids are sitting in buggies on phones rather then watching the world around them and asking questions. Having nonsense conversations with parents or siblings . I know that both parents work now …we both worked full time on opposite shifts…I know being a single parent us hard work…yes I’ve been there. We need to get back to basics with our kids.
Switch the Internet off and get busy outside.


Have you considered reading a book to him

Take the tablet away, play with him with his toys and lay with him for an hour. He’s still young enough to get him off the electronics cuz addiction to them is definitely a thing.

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We never gave our toddler a tablet but he does watch tv sometimes. He also still colors, loves playdo and puzzles! I think it’s about balance. What he does watch it’s learning/preschool educational shows and he loves the songs. He’s not much into cartoons. As far as bedtime goes. You’ve gotta interact and get a routine and that’s apart of spending time with them. After that hour you get adult time. I would start bedtime at 7 tho if it takes so long.

You’re the parent!!! Take them away. Find some board games that you all can play.

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Say no the electronics if he asks. If he’s bored he can read a book, play with playdoh, building blocks, race cars…
If he really wants to hang out with you he can help with chores and stuff. At 5 he can do some dusting, sweeping or even wiping windows (use vinegar water).

If you don’t have a bed time routine I’d suggest getting one. Also everyone is different and maybe he needs that hour to wind down. Our kids don’t have to go to sleep but they can lie quietly in their beds and read books.

He’s going to fight changes in the current routine. Be consistent with him and stick with it for there to be progress.


Limit his/her screen time. Nothing for at least an hour before bedtime as their minds are still amped up from the electronics. You are the parent not the other way around. Have him help with small chores dishes to the sink, setting table. Gathering trash, folding simple laundry they are capable of way more than your allowing him.

Be a mom. List his time on them. No electronics during the school days. If he fights it get rid of them. It’s your fault and if you dont fix it now he will always run over you. Be a parent


Watching a screen for extended periods of time is addictive and has been shown to rewire the brain. Getting him outside more and playing/doing anything else hands on (without a screen) also rewires the brain so try to get him outside more and do more things in nature with him as well as playing with toys, reading stories together, playing board games, etc. Increase that time slowly and slowly decrease screen time through the transition so he won’t notice while his brain adjusts. It will take more work on your part but will be worth it in the end. He won’t be young for long and will be grown and gone before you know it so enjoy these precious years while you can.

uhm, take them away? Good gravy. You will play with toys, play outside, or you won’t play anything at all. Seriously …. he’s 5. Is he gonna be#t you up if you don’t give him his way? If so, you got more problems than you think you do.


my boys is close to this as well. the bossy is normal, teach him his emotions if you havent yet, and if have remind him of how to get them in check, we do deep breathes and talking. it’s harder and harder in today’s world to avoid use a type of device tbh, and I honestly think the expectations should be re evaluated of what’s normal screen time vs play time.
I made a chart for my boy that he absolutely loves. he’s 4. he doesn’t understand the calender style yet, so I just wrote down on a huge canvas thing I know he loves, he can do, 1 of them was playing without the use of screens another doing art, and another outside time … he gets a sticker for achieving these things and he’s remembered each spot by memory well bc he can’t read yet, he just loves it. it’s worked really good for him! every ten stickers he’ll get a type of a surprise, I’ve gotten a few doller store finds, and a few times we get to have a bowl of ice cream. i think whatever you know your kid will love, just encourage that.
keep it positive, make the chart sound so cool, maybe even have them help draw on it or make with you. get them hyped for it.

Let him have playmates over and turn the tv off and no technology but 30 minutes a day . My mom didn’t let us watch more than 30 minutes a day and we turned out just fine . I only allow my granddaughter the same amount . We read books and sing songs etc . At five , the child should also be able to play alone


Unfortunately I think the majority of us have created that same monster! That’s all my boys (9 & 12) want to do! Now the 9 yr old will stop & play with some toys occasionally, but not the 12 yr old! Maybe you can search your community for something else for him to do with other kids his age. If not sports, maybe search Facebook for local mom groups & try to set up play dates at a park.

I am not my child’s entrainment director. I think boredom can be creative. I don’t let my grandkids have tablets in the car and we talk about cool cars and important stuff like our favorite ice cream.

It’s 2024… technology is everywhere and literally for everything. People shop online work online etc… it’s just how the days are. I mean I’m constantly on my phone. But I let my kids watch things to learn and stuff my son already learned a second language on YouTube. Just limit the amount if you need to but I definitely let my kids on tablets when I need to cook clean or just relax. Idc what anyone says. Where I live it’s so cold outside too it’s different when the weather is nice and can go outside and do activities. But if you need a break, don’t feel guilty. Technology is basically life in these times. But, for your concern maybe if you have nice weather take him to places to let out his energy. There is jumping places and parks and things to do and can do as a family. Maybe look into like a museum or zoo or look into the resorts that have indoor water parks and stuff. Find some family fun activities. But when the day is soon going to end maybe go for a walk to the park or even a drive around to help the bored. I just did that I took my 8 year old for a car ride to get gas and drinks and drive around to get out of the house. It really helped


You did this to him. You fix him. Take it all away and start from scratch.

I limit my sons time and try to make whatever it is something that is educational and makes him think and use his brain.

Have you guys been talking to him about starting school or did he just start school this year? It may be more of an attachment problem than a technology problem.

I went on a 3 week no technology for kids break.
They has no choice.
Then it was only an hour or two on school nights to wind down.
Fri and Sat afternoons or evenings if there wasn’t anything else going on they got more.
They pretty much had to “earn” electronics, so they realized it was a privilege and treat, not a necessity or entitlement.


So you are the mom!!! Take the electronics away….

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Take away the technology. Put restrictions and stick to it. Comment positively when he’s doing something not including technology. Now please don’t take this the wrong way because when my son was around the same age we had the same issue, still deal with it from time to time, but it took me an extra minute to realize this is a parent problem, not a kid problem. Like I said, no judgment. Its an easy hole to find yourself in, but the sooner you put in restrictions the less of a battle it will be. You’ll still have a battle, but its much easier battling a 5 year old then a 15 year old.


Take the tablet away. Play family board games with him. Give him chores. Read to him. Gonna bike rides. There are many activities for him in place of his tablet. Put a time limit on his tablet. And remember YOU are the parent not him. Put your foot down and make rules. At five, they shouldn’t have a choice to listen to their parents


We took the phone out of the equation altogether. Total game changer, no pun intended. The only time he is allowed to have the phone is to do ABCMouse then it is put back out of sight. Behavior has improved by leaps and bounds.

Single parent here:

You are the adult - and you are setting the tone.

So far, you’ve created a entitled little boy.

It’s time to bite the bullet and take away all technology. The first three days will suck: but pull your britches up and suck it up buttercup. It’ll pass.

Set your boundaries and stick to them. If he throws a fit: make him do push ups. (This worked SO WELL on mine - I’m not even kidding).
Start with 5 (if they argue - 6, if they keep refusing, 7, 8 , 9. Keep going and enforce it. You do not want him learning you’re a pushover and then one day he’s 6ft tall and breaking into your bank account. Think I’m exaggerating? I’m not.

It’ll be ok: as long as you start laying down the law and stick to it.

Why is the child “sitting and playing” all day? Does he not have a schedule of diff things to do all day? Like a daycare schedule. There shouldn’t be no activity that he sits and does all day.

Turn off and unplug the TV and put his tablet away. Go outside. Go to playground. It’s your responsibility to do those things. Turn on radio and listen to music. Or better yet a quiet house is relaxing. Do you know kids don’t know how to relax anymore. How to just sit and be quiet and relax. Which means they won’t know how as teens or adults. Which is why this generation is so dependant (on drugs. Technology etc ) because they were never taught to calm down. Shut up and sit still. Parents think kids need constant stimulus. They do not.

Take it away. Completely. No tv no tablets nothing. Bored? Go play with your toys ….it’s really not that hard to do…take away for about a week and the attitude will change and he’ll b playing with toys on his own. We usually do a movie during dinner n after that we get ready for bed and play with TOYS not electronics….my therapist told me it takes 3hrs for your brain to I guess relax is the right word to use….once u put electronics down…n we should stop them 3hrs before bed…

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Not to b out of line but u created this little " monster. " because u need a minute …
This is an easy way out for alot of parents but if you want suggestions on how to maybe fix it ? Restrict his TV time & don’t buy him a new toy every time you turn around it’ll get to a point that he’ll expect it if change isn’t made now & always remember your the boss not him

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Take it away. The first day will be hell. By the 3rd day it will be so worth it you won’t believe it took so long. Tablets are addicting and it turns our kids into little assholes. I speak from very recent experience on this topic!

I just stopped charging my sons tablet and hiding my remotes and walk away before he awake up my sons 4, and he’s addicted to minecraft and youtube kids that’s my sanity he also knows I won’t budge of he cries for it :woman_shrugging: that don’t work for me

I’m 100% on my own. Never had any help and my child is autistic and I’ve never given him technology. Tv, phone, tablet. He watches at best an hr of TV a day, the rest is filled with actual activities and interactions


It sound like your house hold needs a technology detox. We do them every month we’re we don’t allow technology for 2 weeks it helps keep the kids playing and they eventually just stop wanting technology. We are out doors a lot which helps and we are big readers

I find it hard to believe you’ve not got time for him he’s 5 plus you said without you and his dad playing so does his dad not have much time with him either? Limit screen time is definitely gonna be a great starting point, maybe stop yourself and take a look around I understand you might have work or other responsibilities but sounds to me like he’s after your attention and acting out because that’s all he knows.
Take him to the park to play football or just a walk, zoo/ sea life or amusement Park (if you can afford it)
Play a card game or board game together there’s alot you can do without technology I understand life gets busy I’m a single mom of 2 myself but you need to make time for him you’re gonna look back in 5/10 years and kick yourself for missing out on making memories.

He’s probably used to getting what he wants when he puts up a fight. You have to set rules for technology and enforce them 100% of the time. Be consistent after a while he will get use to having a time limit and finding things to do. But it has to start somewhere. We have a rule of no technology until homework is done, a book is read. And even after that I still suggest playing in the playroom or doing arts and crafts. Almost all kids love arts and crafts. Get a bunch of washable arts and crafts and let him go ham on some art

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You can’t just say you don’t have time for him. He’s only 5. YOU as the parent have to make time for him and set rules in place. Your insinuating that you use technology as a baby sitter and the lack of human interaction is probably causing the behavior problems. Take the tablet for most of the day and give him a 1-2 hr time limit. Teach him the wonders of playing outside and making mud pies. It wasn’t even that long ago that kids grew up without an iPad in their hands. They survived just fine.


So you’ve given up control to a 5 year old. Play a board game, go for a walk, find a park. Have you got a yard? Does he have friends? A play date?

Take it all away…BANDAID method. The only choice he will have are his toys or nothing at all. If he puts up a fight take a toy away and throw it in the outside trash and tell him once he runs out of toys that’s it, or make him pack them up to give to a child who will play with them.

Try setting a timer (maybe the old fashioned wind up ones that he can easily see & understand) for the tablet. At 5, he needs limitations. It’s hard as a busy parent, but he needs you to be the parent. Also, what is he doing/watching on the tablet? When my son was younger, we definitely noticed an attitude change when he was watching too much YouTube, even if it was age appropriate… And yes, he should be able to play by himself. When he gets bored enough & knows that Mommy & Daddy have chores to do, he’ll start playing with his toys. It’s all about boundaries. Good luck!!

Set a timer on his tablet to turn off at a certain time, get him in a couple after work hours to wear him out alittle bit more, block what you don’t want him to view, read , color, do not allow him to be bossy, parenting is a hard job, we don’t always get down time , but sounds like you have some responsibility in his behavior, be strong and put rules in place, he will only become more demanding of you

I know the feeling mama and im a single mom, my daughter is 5 1/2 she does the same stuff u have to be firm and stick to ur guns and let them know who is boss its tuff at times but it has to be done or they will never learn!! The tablet i just take it from her before her bed time she gets mad but she gets over it and gives in :pray:

I don’t let my 5 year old watch TV during the week. I make him find things to do, toys to play with, etc. I’ll create activities for him if I need to sometimes. He doesn’t have a tablet, but I’ve considered getting him one and only installing learning apps and stuff on it, and I would set a limit to 1 hour per day or something.

You don’t have to be their friend. That comes later.

Just take it away as hard as it is. You’re just going to have to deal with his withdrawals from the technology because it’s not going to be an overnight fix. Don’t cave in either. Put him in time out when he acts out. He’s young enough you can fix this issue within a week maybe two. Just take the technology away cold Turkey. You’re also going to have put your child first at this point because sounds like your guys little boy just wants mommy and daddy to play with him hence why it taking so long to get him to sleep it’s because he wants that interaction with you his parents. Bedtime routine needs to be established also with a bedtime and if he gets out of the room you take him back put him back in bed but don’t say anything and keep repeating until he stays in his bed for the night and repeat it each day until he knows it’s bedtime it’s time for sleep.


Set timers. Limit the activity. 1 hour before bed all technology is off. Even for mom and dad. Sit down and watch a short film. Bath/shower routine and then head to bed at bedtime. Routine routine routine.

You are the parent take it away play games , play with his toys with him , color go outside … find other stuff to do

You are the parent and he is the child, let him know now that you are the Boss, not him. Give him a time limit each day, 1 hour tablet and the other to watch tv or play with his toys!!

You are the adult, take it away.Take him to the park,bring him somewhere where he can socialize with other children.

Take it away you are the parent

Screen detox… zero electronics for a week… it’ll be tough but worth it… then when you reintroduce it put a time limit… lots of outside time (even if it’s cold)… fresh air is good for the mind and body

And yall technology ain’t the anti christ. My 7 year old uses scratch Jr and is creating his own animated videos and characters. We stick to educational for almost everything, the kids at a 3rd and 4th grade level for math and reading. Thank you number blocks and alpha lore lol

My son has autism and loves technology. But I do a tablet break at least once a week! He loves to play with toys and “read” books. And color and draw and so forth so tablet time isn’t an issue. He has half day kindergarten and 3 hours of tablet time after school if he’s having a rough day tablet doesn’t come out and we do imagination time. Playing with toys lol. I have autism too and we play together and do pretty much everything together! I would recommend a routine at night for bedtime. We do our Children’s Bible and other books and we do snuggle time before bed. It has helped my son so much. Also we do no technology of any kind 1 hour before bed and we have done melatonin since he was 2 suggested by my son’s doctor. I also rotate toys every week or so to give “new” toys to my son to have imagination time. My son gets aggressive and extremely overwhelmed and overstimulated with too much tech time. You just need to limit his time on technology and have fun and exciting things to do instead. Think about his favorite toys and things he loves to do. My son loves books but isn’t quite ready to read yet and he still “reads” them. He loves to build things so we have lego duplos, magnatiles etc. he loves vehicles and so forth. Another idea is do sensory bins. Like kinetic sand with construction vehicles, rice with toy animals, outdoor toys and get your kid moving! Don’t just grouch at your child for being hyper or just too overwhelming because I know that. It’s when kids get outside and be kids like when I was a child that they sleep great, behavior and sensory stimulation is calmed and they aren’t overly anxious, overwhelmed and so forth. Please know many of us parents have been here. So I understand. I’m not here to judge. I’m here to help and support you. It’s beneficial for your son to have independent play to help him grow his imagination and problem solve and learn through play. I too have used the tablet way too much lately. Especially on spring break. Good luck and just know it can be corrected before he gets too addicted! My son’s doctor said most children are technology zombies because that’s just what parents allow nowadays. Sad really. But good job realizing you have a problem and you can fix it before your son becomes a technology zombie too!

Take the technology away and give him a book… colouring pages, bubbles. Don’t give in, he will learn to find fun in other stuff

This is a common problem. Sad.

Yes he is 100% addicted to that technology

Its quiet simple answer tbh Make time for your child ! Taking the tablet away isn’t going to fix the issue intact it’s probably going to course a bigger one ,

Sitting with your child snugging together and reading books , watching a movie as a family , making dinner together drawing , painting ect might be a start to fixing the addiction the child is 5 make memories while u have chance

My daughter is 5 son is 7. We use to have to spend a hr or 2 settling them (sons on spectrum) dr recommended melatonin gummies. They’re suppose to take 2. Both take 1 and are out in 15-30 mins so we give it to them about 15 mins before bedtime. Has helped wonders and they’re getting real rest

Both of my kids got addicted to tablets and TV and their attitudes were complete trash. We took away tablets and limit tv time now and it’s gotten a bit better…the addiction was horrible for my son though. He would lose his mind over his tablet. But we are going on two weeks now of no tablet and it’s much better.

Take it away? You’re the parent. Not him. :woman_shrugging:t2:

With the sleep shut off all screens two hours before bedtime and get in the habit of some level of routine. Screens are all completely off an hour before bedtime here and then I start the bedtime routine so their brains associate the time of day.

Take away the technology….thats your simple answer…its amazing how much people really think kids need technology when it’s just making things worse.

Once you get him in school it will change he will get more play time and time with other kids my stepson was like this and he get an hour on his game and or phone then he has to play with a toy or sit with us to play a learning game we read a book and put him to bed yes both of my kids use melatonin to sleep do to ADHD which there Dr advise me to use like my older kids sis when they were little and it took about a year to get him to play by himself with his toys set boundaries and get him checked by my his Dr I had to put my son in vitamins he was a picky eater so he was moody and back sas a lot he’s almost 7 and he’s a lot better he still has his days no ones perfect but when he has a bad day we can manage him better with some cuddles and just one on one play time or story time. Most time kids just want some affection and when they act out. Good luck

See a child psychologist