*These are my opinions only. This is what works for our family.
Phone, iPad, Television.
It seems like those are bad words in today’s culture. Mom’s hear from everywhere that screen time is bad.You hear that from your mom friends, facebook, and all over tv and internet.
All of this combined made me feel so guilty for letting my ADHD/ ASD son play with my phone!
But not anymore!
I am so done with mom guilt over screen time usage!
I let my kids, especially my oldest C, to use electronic devices. I am happy that I live in a time that has those devices to help him and help me. Here’s why I’m okay with it.
C has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and I suspect undiagnosed anxiety. Those things combined create a scary, uncertain, uncomfortable world for C. And every day he needs to find a way to stay calm, make good decisions and behave socially acceptable. That is such huge pressure for an eight-year-old!
In our case, a phone or iPad can be a lifesaver!
We have different uses for the devices (phone, tablet or TV). First of all, we use it as a reward. Both boys, C and T can earn minutes on a device. For example, for reading. If C reads a book, depending on the difficulty of the book, he earns 3-10 minutes on my phone. Another example is rewarding C with phone minutes if he eats his food. He has basically zero interest in most food and phone minutes are a big incentive for him.
Another way I use a phone or TV is to calm C down. An example of this is when C gets really wound up because he’s been playing with his brother and running around. He can get physically out of control or aggressive without even realizing it. I would ask him to sit down and rest. In this case, I would give him the phone for a few minutes until he has better control of his body.
I also use it in different social settings. C needs to learn how to behave and deal with social settings and we work on this every day. But there comes a point when he has had enough and I cannot push him. In those cases, I would let him use my phone.
If we step out of the house to the store. Many times he can handle the crowds and loud noises but sometimes he needs an escape. That’s when the phone is used.
If we dare to eat out, C gets uncomfortable. We usually make a deal with him to eat his food and not run around and he gets the phone. If we are at a social gathering like a family dinner or party, C gets anxious. He can’t always interact with other kids. He usually just gets super overwhelmed. At these gatherings, I try to have something for him to focus on. Like a game, movie, or another activity. But that only lasts so long. I let him use my phone. He gets calm and relaxed. He’s gotten better at regulating himself where he can even give the phone back and participate in whatever is going on and then know’s when he needs to “escape” again.
This is what works for us. FIgure out what is best for your family.
If you’re curious what Google had to say about the subject check out the links below.
This article from www.health.harvard.edu talks about brain activity but is not conclusive whether it’s bad or good. Heres a question and answer article. Also ultimately inconclusive.
An interesting study I found is how computer games can help kids with ADHD. The research is about how this particular computer game(s) can help or even cure ADHD.
Of course, there are technical reasons why your child should have access to a phone.
Even articles on the best phone for your child.
On parenting.com it talks about radiation dangers of using a phone. Just being near a phone causes DNA level damage to the brain according to the article. This is the study that they refer to. Center4research.org describes all kinds of dangers of kids cell phone usage as well.
I recommend you do your own research. YOU are the mom. YOU know what is best for your child and for you.
“Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” John 7:24
Mary | Mrs Math says
I LOVE your picture, and blog title. I completely agree that using screen time as a reward is a great idea, and tremendous motivator. Kudos to you, and your family, for finding something that works. And I applaud you for being an Police Offier’s wife. I was a military spouse. It was hard. But when I worked at the local police station, it was horrible to see my friends go out on calls, especially for SWAT. May you and your family be safe.
Thank you Mary, for stopping by! We as mom’s have to do what we know is best for our children.
Thank you for your kind words. My husband is in SWAT so I know exactly what you’re talking about! Thank you to your husband for his service.
April Box says
I struggle with letting my son with ASD have screen time. This is the first blog I’ve ever read that doesn’t condemn it and I’m glad!
You have to do what works best for your child. Earning screen time is a great idea! Thank you for sharing!
Hi April! Thanks for stopping by. I definitely struggled with it at first. But fighting him on it was really hard on the both of us. We figured out what works for us. He know’s he needs to work for it.