Screen Time Agreements and Contracts with your ADHD Child or Teen – Part 2

Screen-Time-2a copyIn Part 1 of this post, I shared six  golden nuggets from  the “Engaging Your Child in Screen Time Agreements and Contracts” webinar.  The webinar, by Bonnie Harris ofConnective Parenting,  was one of many from the Screen Time Sanity Telesummit hosted by Cynthia Crossley at Better Family Habits.  Being a Mom herself, Cynthia knows the struggles of regulating screen time with children.  It doesn’t matter where we live – the UK, like Cynthia, or the USA, technology is part of all our lives and can, at times, cause a lack of sanity. (Although I’m not in a straight jacket yet.) Hopefully Part 1 of the post left you curious as to the actual making of a screen time agreement with your child or teen.  So let’s get going!  Here are Bonnie’s recommendations: 1)  Schedule a time with your child to sit down and discuss screen time.  Bonnie says that by scheduling an appointment with your child, you not only highlight the importance of your child but the the issue at hand – screen time. 2)  Together answer the questions, “How, When & Where?”  How long can your child stay on the Xbox?  Where are screens allowed?  When can you play or not play?  Talk about what is reasonable to you and what is reasonable to your child.  For example, say,“It’s important to me that there is no screen time before your homework is completed.”instead of,  “You cannot have screen time before you finish your homework.”  Be willing to compromise and meet your child somewhere in the middle.  If they want to play 2 hours a day and you only want them to play 1 hour a day, meet in the middle with an hour and half of screen time a day. 3)  Write everything down that is agreed upon and have everyone involved sign the agreement.  Then post it in a visible spot. 4)  Have a trial period of the new agreement and schedule another meeting to re-evaluate the plan.   A good test run of the agreement is usually 1-2 weeks.  Bonnie tells parents to expect  your child to need reminders during this period and allow some fudge time.  Make notes of when, where and why it was hard for your child to follow the agreement.  You’ll need these in your re-evaluation meeting. 5) Re-evaluate the plan and make any needed adjustments. During the evaluation meeting say things like, “I noticed (fill in any problem you noticed) was too hard for you, so let’s re-work it. So there you have it! What are you waiting for? Get your family screen time meeting scheduled and get that agreement.  Remember in part 1 of this post, Bonnie said a great time to start the agreement is when a new device or game is introduced.  I wish I had this information a month ago, when my 14 year old ADDer received the privilege of his first cell phone.  However, it’s never too late to get started on anything that might bring yourself a little sanity, right?! (Do straight jackets come in hot pink?)  So, here is my idea – Maybe consider getting an agreement together before school and having the trial period be the first 1-2 weeks of school.  I think that’s what I’m going to try.  I know taking a phone to school could have some negative implications for Carlton due to his impulsive ADHD tendencies.  Rather than set ground rules, I’m going to use Bonnie’s suggestions and try an agreement.  What about you? Until my next post, let me know if you want to try a screen time agreement or contract with your child or teen and when you plan on implementing it.  Or, if you already have some type of agreement surrounding this topic in your home, let me know how you implemented it and any suggestions you have. For additional parenting resources, check out Bonnie Harris’ blog  Connective Parenting and her books, “When Kids Push Your Buttons” and “Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids.”   Also stop by and visit Cynthia Crossley at Better Family Habits.

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