Home » Autism » To screen, or not to screen?

To screen, or not to screen?

I find myself in a place we haven’t been in for a long while. It’s not a comfy place, and I really hate we’re here again. I am researching things, spending hours on Pinterest, reading articles and a million autism blogs, pulling out tangle therapy/zones of regulation/comfort box items.

We have a no-screens-during-the-week rule. That means no Netflix, no YouTube, no computer, no XBox, no video games. It’s a hard and fast rule. And I’ve been holding firm with all three. The older two, as I wrote a couple weeks ago, have their reality that Little Man gets his way frequently, doesn’t have the same rules as they, and that we give in to him all the time. I’m trying to be very mindful of that. But, one of his ways of decompressing his spending time watching his favorite YouTube-ers, working on Minecraft, or making his own videos for his YouTube channel. His days at school are so difficult right now, I’ve actually contemplated giving him half an hour of screen time when he gets home just so he can chill his own way. I don’t want to, because then I either have to let Big Man and Princess have the same, or enforce the no-screen rule for them and not Little Man. We know where that leads. Why do I fight this so much? I know what works for him, and it’s this. I also have this overwhelming need to be fair. Then add in the mommy-guilt of allowing screen time when every article you read says to avoid it? Gah!!!!! Stress!!!

How do you handle this in your household? How do you explain different needs to your NT kids? Or do you? Do I give them all the limited screen time? Or keep the rule as-is and encourage Little Man to find another way to decompress when he gets home from school?

9 thoughts on “To screen, or not to screen?

  1. Whew that’s tough. I’d be inclined to give half an hour to all. We keep screen time very limited mostly with LM and BG is too young. But I can see some of the frustration melt away from my LM and him start to relax, so we allow it. (And on the flip side, on the days where we let Eli get by with more, especially in the summer, he seemed on edge and prone to meltdowns more.) Good luck with whatever you decide!

    • Thanks!! I appreciate the input. We too see an increase in meltdowns and lashing out when there’s too much screen time, but a calming with a little bit of screen time. Fine line.

  2. So we know there’s no right answers, and there are certainly no easy ones. I think it is important for kids to know lots of ways to get their bodies back to the green zone 🙂 I think it is worth experimenting with him to find out what helps. You can even have him rate how his body feels before and after. Does he need music, a book, deep pressure, reduced sensory input like in a tent or fort, organize cars or legos, use a sand or water table, swing, running, bike riding, listening to a relaxation tape… The more tools he is familiar with the better. Chances are you already know which of these are helpful to him. Good luck!

  3. Omg I can relate to this. We basically had to change so many rules as our son got older. Honestly we called it “survival mode.” I would’ve LOST MY MIND if Mj didn’t have computer time every day. He gets an hour of it. Thankfully it’s mostly educational stuff but it wasn’t what we thought we’d be doing with our kids. We give our daughter the same time. We just didn’t want to fight that particular battle. My daughter sees that MJ gets certain things and I hate it but in some cases she just has to be understanding. I don’t give a hoot what the “experts” say. Screen time for us is a necessity.

  4. I soooooo understand this!! I have a 12 year old daughter, almost 13, who asked questions all the time about why her brother gets this and that more. I would say it was a real eye opener for me. Our 11 year old is on the spectrum. We try to keep things even as much as possible, but she has become very understanding! We talk a lot about things she would like to do and what she thinks would make her feel better. Believe it or not, our son cares a lot about fairness for he and his sister. We have limited screen time, but they each have their own set time. If my daughter can prove to me she needs more time, then I will usually grant an extra 15 minutes. They both get screen time after school. My daughter has a lot of homework because she is in a Charter School, so we really do not have to set much of a time limit. She is usually pretty quick about getting on for a bit and then off during the week. Maximum time limit for her is 45 minutes due to her homework and study load. My son gets an hour a day, broken up through out the day. Because he is home schooled, I allow him first thing in the morning to start his project, whether it be making a video, or building on Minecraft. We usually do about 15 minutes. Mid-day during lunch, he gets 15 minutes. In the afternoon, he gets 30 minutes if all school is complete and he has been obedient through out the day. This seems to work for us. My daughter doesn’t mind he has an hour. She doesn’t care to be on as much as him. She is mainly working on editing photos for her Devotional/Christian account on Instagram or catching up with friends. Some days she doesn’t get on-line except for school homework…

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