Many parents today did not grow up with the technology that is readily available to our children today. So how do we teach our children with ADHD to thoughtfully utilize screen time without having it take a negative toll on their health?
Balance. Moderation. Collaboration.
For people with ADHD screen time provides us with much needed stimulation it is a vast and fast source of entertainment. The problem is that time often slips away from us and we don’t have much to show for it. The more time we spend with this type of stimulation the harder it is for us to pull ourselves away from it and turn our attention back to something we are supposed to be doing. This makes us less productive. And can lead to serious problems like video game or an Amazon shopping addiction.
If you have read this far I know that you are concerned about the amount of time your child spends in front of a screen. Some of the obvious signs your child is getting to much screen time include; your child gets angry and aggressive when it is time to transition away from the screen, their academic performance is suffering, they are having difficulty sleeping, they are withdrawing from family time, mental health issues appear to be worsening and they are playing outside less frequently. If your child is obsessed with the “Like” culture of social media it can have an adverse affect on their self-esteem. Watch out for weight gain associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Commonly brought on by late night snacking and not eating regularly so often when they do eat they are more likely to make unhealthy choices.
If this sounds familiar sit down as a family and express your concerns so your kids are aware of your observations. Discuss the importance of screen time moderation and maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Daily exercise, eating healthy meals regularly and sleeping well are all essential in managing our child’s ADHD.
Collaborate so you understand where your kids are coming from. Find common ground and gain consensus rather than telling them what to do. Empathize with your children; you know that it is difficult for them to transition away from the screen if they are in the middle of a game or chat with their friends. Together set specific times for screen time after homework is complete and agree that screen time ends one hour before bedtime. This will require a lot of reminders and take time for the kids to adjust to. All devices go on chargers in a designated area preferably outside of the bedrooms. Having the ability to turn your Wi-Fi off by device also helps keep the screen time rules consistent. The key is to collaborate with your child to determine how much time they can spend on a school night vs. weekends when there might be more flexibility as long as they still get a good night sleep. Remember to model the behavior you want to see. I hope this helps get you started on taming your screen time struggles.
If you would like more information on how to tame your screen time struggles please book a free consultation.