Last week, we talked about recent news that putting 1-year-olds in front of screens can lead to developmental delays. You can read that one HERE.
This week, let’s talk about kids who probably already have some developmental delays happening: Orchid Kids.
Orchid Kids struggle with a variety of Life Things, including (but not limited to): sensory processing (how the world sounds, smells, tastes, looks and feels), social interaction (what the hidden “rules” are for interacting with others), and managing their Big Feelings.
Basically, Orchid Kids have a hard time seeing the world as a safe, predictable place.
Things (people, places) are just too loud or not loud enough.
Things are just too visually distracting or not stimulating enough.
Things don’t feel good (too rough, too soft, too smooth, too bumpy).
Things move around too much or not enough.
Life in 3D can be HARD for Orchids.
In contrast, screens are nice and easy.
Screens are safe.
Screens do the same thing the same way every time.
Screens don’t reach out to touch you unexpectedly.
Screens don’t ask you to do things that you don’t know how to do.
Screens provide a 2D, “toned-down” version of reality that might be more manageable for an Orchid brain.
So doesn’t it make perfect sense that many Orchid Kids would rather spend time on a screen than in the “real world”?
Of course it does. And in that regard, we might (judiciously) use screens as tools to make the world a bit more tolerable; a bit more predictable; a bit safer. And that would be “Good”(ish).
Judiciously, though, because:
If we know that passive screen time is generally not good for brains (which we do).And if we know that more screen time earlier on is associated with poorer developmental outcomes (which we do).
(Let alone what we know about dopamine and the brain’s reward system – more on that in a later post)Then proceeding with caution, mindfulness and purpose is necessary in the case of Screens and Orchid Kids. That will look different for all kids, and it will look different at different ages, but here are a couple of guiding principles:
Have screen time built into the schedule so that your Orchid Kid knows when it’s going to happen. More than half of battles involving screens happen because kids are obsessing over “when will it be time?!” Answer that question in advance.
Know their limits. For example, if you know that your Orchid can handle about 15 minutes of screen time before they get “glued to the set”, then you might limit sessions to 15 minutes or less. And, when you can’t or don’t want to limit the time, then expect that they will have a hard time extracting themselves.
Be willing to throw out the routine and forgive yourself when things go sideways and you’re stuck alone at home with screaming lunatics on a Friday evening when everyone is exhausted and the only thing to do is to Plug. Them. In.
And then also be willing – if it’s been a month of things going sideways – to get some help re-tweaking the routine.
If you’d like to schedule a 1:1 coaching session to chat about screens (or anything else that’s going sideways right now at home), you can do that by Clicking Here to schedule.
As always, I love hearing from you about what you like and don’t like about these blogs. I also love hearing about what you want to know more about. You can always reply to this email to let me know (I actually read all the replies).
I’ll be offering a free masterclass on morning and evening routines coming up next month that I’m pretty excited about. I hope you will be too. We’ll FOR SURE cover screen time in there!
You can schedule a 1:1 session with me HERE