Screen Time Becomes Connection Time

Set LimitsAs my son grows older the draw towards video games is getting stronger and stronger, and so is the family struggle over them. I started to notice the tension and frustration around video games increasing and began to set limits, but it did not seem to be quite enough. I would set a limit, and he would express his feelings, but never quite follow them all the way through, and for a period of time it continued as a daily negotiation.

He began suggesting playing video games during our Special Time. I hesitated at first, thinking that it was not a good use of our quality time together, and worried that it might serve to encourage his constant desire to play them. But I told him it was his choice, and so we snuggled up real close under some blankets to play games on my iPhone. The first time we did this, he wanted to play the whole time and have me watch. I simply offered as much connection and enthusiasm as I could muster during the time. Then the timer went off, and I told him it was time to stop and put the games away. I moved in close to set the limit, and I held my hand over the screen on the phone. He erupted into a heap of feelings, insisting he had to play one more round, and angry that Iwas making him shut it off. I sat and stayed close to him while he kicked and yelled and offloaded his frustration. After he wound down he was flexible enough to do other things.

This same scenario repeated a second and third time when we did Special Time.
He chose to play video games, and after the timer went off I would ask him to turn it off and he would offload his feelings about it. After a few of these, I began to notice shifts in the way the Special Time was going. He was having me play more and more of the levels with him, and becoming much more flexible about turning it off, as well as not asking to play any more for the rest of the evening.

These past couple of weeks he has wanted to play video games during his Special Time, and I have come to really enjoy it! We snuggle under a blanket together, and he facilitates us switching turns back and forth on the different levels and challenges of the games we play. It feels like we are really playing together and we laugh and get excited and give each other “high fives” to celebrate good moves all the way through. When the 15 minutes are up it has been me who says, “OK, we’ve gotta do one more round!” It really does feel like connected play. Then when it is time to stop he is flexible and ready to shift to the next thing. I have also been noticing that he is not asking to play as much,
and when he does and I set a limit, he can cooperate with my limit.

Messy Loud Real-Life ParentingDo you want more suggestions on how to use Special Time? Check out our free video series. In the first video, you’ll get a step by step guide to using Special Time and some fun examples of what it can look like. Get your videos now.

 

Natalie Thiel, Certified Parenting by Connection Instructor

Learn more about setting limits on screen time in this free instant-access teleseminar.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Screen Time Becomes Connection Time”

  1. Cool! I am fascinated by the paradox of connecting through screentime, but then I reflect and remember the connective aspect of it from my youth with my sister. It seems like a perfect example of leaning into difficulty and finding harmonious engagement where you least expect it! Coming from Waldorf and seeing the battles around screens, this is an interesting perspective to witness, and to notice all that comes up and is resolved in your story, and in me, reading it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. This is so great. I did this with my sons, and feel like I learned so much about their temperaments by being present and engaged with them in this activity that they loved so much. It’s really fun having them teach you how to play.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

7 Simple Ways to Reconnect With Your Kids This Summer

Stop yelling, start connecting.

This guide gives you the inside track on why holidays get hard and seven excellent ways to make things better. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Scroll to Top