Screen Battle 2021
“Shut it off! Time to go!”
“I said shut it off!”
“Let’s go! We are late!”
“I am going to take that Xbox and throw it out the window if you don’t get in the car right now!”
How many times have you said these exact words and how many times have you sworn that this madness has to stop? How many times have you threatened to lock up the xbox, tv remote, or take away your child’s phone?
The challenge is real and downtime during the summer months doesn’t make it any easier.
We don’t have to tell you screaming never works so let’s talk about what you can do instead.
#1 Educate both yourself as well as your child as to why the ADHD brain finds it so difficult to “stop” when screens are involved.
The ADHD brain craves dopamine and that is exactly what screens produce. It makes it extra hard for your child or teen to break away.
#2 Be proactive.
Before the screen is even turned on, have a plan for turning off the screen. This can include what kind of cue will be needed to get off the screen. Will it be a timer? Will your child be independent and manage it on his own?
You will also want to consider what your child’s next activity will be after the screen is turned off. It may be a natural break, like dinner time or maybe your child will go outside and shoot hoops. The goal is for your child to already know what the plan is so it will be easier to implement. You won’t be met with “I’m bored, what can I do?” Your child will know what time screen time ends and what will be happening next.
#3 Understand your child’s perspective….within reason. When your child is playing a video game, he may have just a couple of minutes to reach the next level before he can save his progress. You and your child can agree upon time when he will actually turn it off. If he says he can finish the level in 2 minutes, then the screen should be turned off in 2 minutes. Two minutes should not turn into ten or twenty minutes. Your child should have a clear understanding that if he disrespects the “finish the level” rule then you will simply take it away. You can be reasonable about your child’s screen time behavior if your child is reasonable about your rules. The moment they disrespect your rules and take advantage of your willingness to be reasonable, then you will have to tighten up your rules.
P.S. If your child says they are hardly ever on screens, have them turn on screentime notifications on their phone, tablet, or computer and see if they are surprised. The point isn’t to be alarmed by the amount of time but to start building some “real” awareness.
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