Restricting TV & iPad Time: One Family's Success Story

Following on our recommendation of further reducing screen time, Danielle's family has seen tremendous gains in family relationships, the daily routine, and their therapy homework. 

Hi John,

We were allowing 1-2 cartoons a day in addition to weekend movies for our 6 year old.  Watching the iPad/TV became a slippery slope and it always turned into more time than I intended with constant begging for "1 more show."  We were able to stop watching all shows during the week and only allowing movie nights on Friday and Saturday nights.  We also allow for 1 cartoon on Saturday and Sunday.  Since we reduced screen time, we have seen great improvements.  Our 6 year old has fewer melt-downs and we have more time to work on reading, play games, do our therapy, and get to bed at a decent time.  Adding 1 show can push back reading practice and she was much to tired to practice after 7pm. 

I think removing screen time has had a huge impact on the effectiveness of OT.  We no longer struggle to get OT into our day, there are no power struggles over access to the iPad, and our daughter is happier.  We are all happier.  We saw changes immediately in her attitude and our family relationship has improved due to fewer conflicts about the iPad. 

Here's how it happened for us.  I told my daughter that the constant begging and crying and pleading and conflicts were not working for our family. I said that we needed to find a solution and she actually suggested that she only watch shows on weekends.  I'm not sure how to get all children to make this suggestion themselves, but we were lucky she suggested it.  I said, "That's a great idea!  Movie night will be more special and fun that way."  We have held tight to the rule - never making an exception - and things are much easier. 

I highly suggest a strict restriction of screen time for all children, and especially sensory kids.  :)

Thanks so much,
Danielle