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How to break your 'phone trance' for the holidays

Rena Sarigianopoulos sat down with a psychologist and parenting coach to figure out how to break that "phone trance."

Ah, the holidays.

Time to get together with family... and ignore everyone while you play on your phone.

But, maybe it doesn't have to be like that.

Rena Sarigianopoulos sat down with a psychologist and parenting coach to figure out how to break that "phone trance."

First of all, let's be real.

This isn't just kids. 

"That ability to be present is what we need to teach in our kids by demonstrating it ourselves," says psychologist Dr. Kristen Lysne.

That's right, parents. 

The eyes down, mind sucking, phone use is often just them mimicking us.

So don't scold. 

"A more constructive parenting approach to think about, how am I going to teach my child how to manage where their attention is going rather than just scolding them for being riveted to something that is designed to be novel and exciting and capturing of one's attention?"

Super. But how do we do this?

Dr. Kirsten Lysne says it's all about creating rules - you know - before the holidays.

"We come to the table and we don't bring our devices. That's not a holiday rule, that's just a rule. We go to bed and we don't bring our devices," she said. "When there is a person standing in front of us we pause the device we don't pause the person, right?"

Lysne says families can follow these rules all the time, not just at holidays.

"To build just a good infrastructure of habits," she said.

Awesome. You can make that your new year's resolution. So, now we just need to get you through the holidays without a fight over phone use. 

Here's an idea. Use the phone, well, in a different way.

"It isn't the phone or the screen," Lysne said. "It's what we're doing with them."

Pick an interactive game that kids can play together, like Minecraft.

Or games the whole family can play together, like something trivia based.

Let the kids create a YouTube Film Fest.

"All the kids pick out YouTube videos that they think are funny," she said, "and it has to be age appropriate, so the little ones aren't offended, and neither is grandma."

What does that accomplish?

"They get some screen time but it's not just alone. They're picking out things that other people find funny or that they find funny to share with other people."

Or there's always the option to ditch the screens all together.

Play board games, bake, decorate, have a talent contest. The list is pretty much endless. Screen or no screen.