The Ultimate ND Parenting Plot Twist: Collaborative Tech ControlSep 06, 2023
Embrace Flexibility and Pivot as Needed 🔄
- It's All About Adaptability: Parents often search for a one-size-fits-all plan for screen time, but flexibility is vital. What works for one family may not work for another. Embrace the idea that being flexible with tech, devices, and screens is perfectly okay.
- Experiment and Adjust: Instead of rigid rules, consider screen time an experiment. Life is dynamic, and what works in one season may need adjustment in another.
- Pivot, Pivot, Pivot: Pivoting when necessary allows you to adapt to your child's changing needs. Adaptability is the name of the game, and ongoing experimentation and reflection is the key to unlocking it.
Screens Aren't Always the Culprit 📺
- Avoid Blame Games: When behavioural issues arise, pointing fingers at screens is easy. However, it's crucial to recognize that screens are often a coping mechanism for stressors stemming from the child's environment and relationships.
- The Context Matters: The circumstances surrounding screen and tech use matter. Are screens used for leisure, educational or passion purposes? Is screen time a social outlet or a form of escape? These nuances matter in understanding the role of screens in behavioural challenges.
- Dig Deeper to Identify the Root Cause: Look beyond the surface and understand the underlying causes of behavioural challenges. Screens are part of our world and can provide a sense of security for ND children. They should not be solely blamed or reduced to "screen time." Excessive screen time is often a symptom of a more significant issue. It could be a high-stress load, a lack of meaningful social experiences, coping mechanisms, executive functioning challenges, or sensory overload.
Prioritize Nervous System Safety and Connection 🧠
- Behaviour Signals: When a child is struggling, their behaviour signals that they don't feel safe or connected. Instead of immediately blaming screens, strengthen your connection with your child. Prioritizing nervous system safety and connection is the bedrock of healthy, supportive parenting. It's like building a fortress around your child's emotional well-being.
- Connection is Key: The key to effective parenting is building a strong, loving connection with your child, emphasizing regular connection. ND kids often need an almost constant connection with a trusted adult. Building a strong and supportive connection is the key to addressing their needs effectively. Let their nervous system guide your actions rather than succumbing to screen-related fears.
- The Ripple Effect: Addressing the root causes of behaviour and creating a sense of safety and connection can have a ripple effect throughout your child's life. It can light up interest in learning, social engagement, and overall well-being.
A Compassionate Approach to Supporting ND Kids: A Success Story
One family faced a familiar struggle with their autistic child, and their journey provided valuable insights into supporting neurodivergent (ND) kids. Initially, their child was strongly attached to screens and would become dysregulated during daily care routines. Like many parents, they instinctively pointed fingers at the screens. However, they soon discovered that there was more to the story.
The child was grappling with social and sensory overload, and their group setting lacked the personalized support they needed. Recognizing the need for a different approach, the parents prioritized connection, especially with the child's screen interests. They also set a few reasonable limits and embarked on a collaborative journey to create a plan.
The parents transformed their home environment into a more harmonious and supportive space by tuning into the child's needs and incorporating strategies to help them regulate their sensory and social experiences. They became detectives, uncovering the root causes of their child's behaviour and crafting tailor-made solutions. It took about six weeks, but the transformation was remarkable. The child felt better, became more connected, and began taking ownership of the plan.
Together, they decided to use timers as not rigid rules but helpful tools. This approach empowered the child to self-regulate their screen time and seek co-regulatory support for tasks requiring executive function. The family also emphasized activities to help the child decompress and process sensory and social experiences. These included squishy fidget toys, massages, weighted blankets, and plenty of movement breaks, such as rope climbing, hanging upside down, and swinging.
These activities not only aided sensory regulation but also added an element of fun and confidence-building to the child's routine. They built a toolkit of practical and enjoyable strategies, moving beyond focusing solely on screen and tech use. This level of autonomy and agency can significantly impact a child's development, fostering resilience and well-rounded growth.
It’s Time for You to Ditch the Screen Time Guilt: It's time to break free from guilt and fear. Acknowledge that screens are a part of our lives and can have positive benefits when used mindfully. See if you can embrace a growth mindset and focus on how technology can enhance your family's lives. When you approach screens from a place of abundance, you can embrace them as a tool rather than a burden.
In conclusion, it's time to turn your parenting game on its head and prioritize connection over disconnection. Instead of blaming screens, focus on building a strong, supportive relationship with your child. You can create a positive ripple effect throughout their lives by nurturing their emotional well-being and addressing underlying issues. With this new mindset, you can cultivate a family culture that values connection, communication, and emotional safety. Don't aim for perfection; just progress and growth.
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PARENT TRIGGERS UNLOCKED: FROM TRIGGERS TO CONNECTION IN NEURODIVERGENT PARENTING
This practical guide offers strategies and insights for cultivating compassion, personalized tools, and healing as we navigate the joys and challenges of parenting ND kids in a world not designed for them.