Video Games/Limits : Hi All, My SS is... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Video Games/Limits

N_37 profile image

Hi All,

My SS is 11 and has ADHD. He just started slow release ritalin - low dose of it. For the most part its working while he's at school, not so much before and after, but that's another topic.

From a young age he's been obsessed with screens and video games. Through the years his dad has had to put a lot of limits in place because of the negative impact too much screens would have on him. Now that he's back in in-person school, there's a bigger work load, and he's wanting more time to himself - he's constantly trying to rush through school work to get to video games. We tell him that sometime there's not always going to be times for games and that school work is really important too, and we just need to get through it with the best of our abilities and whatever time we have left we can figure out what comes next. Of course that's super disappointing for an 11 year old who really wants some screen down time.

My question is - does anyone have any thoughts or experiences about no screens on school days or no screens during really busy days and it actually being successful and not a scream or tear fest? We have tried setting expectations and giving him a heads up on really busy days, but thus far - it just turns into a kid who is disrespectful, crying, or screaming because he didn't get to go on a screen. Right now, he gets to go on screens daily and on weekends he gets extra time because there's no school work. He's connected to his peers, and i'm not worried about him not getting that component because he's getting a lot of kid interaction daily.

Who's got stories?

9 Replies

Curious.. when he is doing homework has his medication worn off? Children have a much harder time dealing with limits and control ( this is what the medication helps). Here is how we do it: we review all school work and make sure it is done correctly, if not it is corrected and this takes more time, then we explain this is the time limit and if you do not stop ( without crying, slamming, etc) tomorrow there will be none..I am a firm believer in children having down time. I know after a long day of work I want a break.

It is also very helpful, to have children with ADHD in thearpy and have a 504 plan. Do you think these tools could help?

It is challenging to find the right balance.

We have a 15 yr.old who attends a block school so he has 4 classes and I am shocked at how hard, the classes are.

Hope this helps.

N_37 profile image
N_37 in reply to Onthemove1971

Thanks tons for the response! Yes he’s in teletherapy (he basically plays mine craft and she tries to talk to him lol excited for in person therapy once he’s vaccinated so more progress can be made there) and has an IEP. The IEP gives him a diverse learner teacher who helps him throughout the day and he gets check lists to help himself bring the right supplies to class. I have to assume based how hard his last class of the day is for him the meds have worn off during that class. It’s the one he complains about the most and how unfocused he is in it.

He’s been on the meds two months so far and I’m on the fence if this is the right medication for him, his sleep has been wonky. I know that’s a typical side affect. He also had a lot of angry outbursts.

I agree all kids needs breaks especially after that long day of school. Fortunately for him he still here gets to watch a tv show at night before we take a walk around the park. Then a shower and read time in bed - regardless of if he gets video game time or not. So there’s always that tv gem he can look forward to if he had a lot of homework that day. Between homework, homework corrections, feeding a hangry kid and fiancé, and fitting in the other parent’s FaceTime schedule, there will sometimes only be 20 minutes to spare. Schools nights are rough / and he hasn’t even fully joined sports yet! He wants to be on the soccer team. Where will we fit in screens.

Being a kid is hard!

Onthemove1971 profile image
Onthemove1971 in reply to N_37

It really sounds like you are doing a great with balancing everything. A few more recommendations especially going to harder grades. Ask his school counselor to move hard classes in the AM due to the medication, this really helps in H.School.

Do you think he can get through the am without medication? If the answer is yes ( I never thought our son could) then have the am medication in the vehicle he rides to school in and hand it to him before he exits the car. That will give you an extra hour at the end of his day.

We also take a 3pm dose to get him through the afternoon of homework, tutoring and sports. Sometimes he asks for melatonin, but not often.

I can't take credit for this tip.. our child psychiatrist recommended this.

Let your gut tell you if he has had to much screen time.. to me there are other battles to fight. Of course within reason.

Thanks for sharing what is going on with your son. With our son so things go better and there are always new challanges..

Take care,

11 year old - so he's likely in 5th or 6th grade depending on when his birthday falls?

I have a 10 year old (11 in March) in 5th grade and an 11 year old (12 in 3 weeks) in 6th grade. Both have ADHD, my youngest also has anxiety, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and Auditory Processing Disorder.

My son (11 years old) is really into video games too. We control his access with Microsoft Family (there are many other programs available). He sends us a request for time and then we choose how much time to give him.

One suggestion is to ask him if he can do any of his homework during school time. Depending on the teacher(s), there may be some opportunities there. If he is even able to get one assignment partially completed, then that's more free time after school.

Another suggestion is to log for a week exactly how much time he is spending on homework each day. It seems like either he has a big load or that it takes him a long time to get it done. If the load seems too much, then discuss with his teachers how he can show mastery with a smaller load. If it takes him a long time, then see if you can encourage him to finish faster with a reward of 15 min of computer time (if he does his best on the assignment). It might be possible to discuss with the teachers to have him do every other math problem instead of all the math problems. You might be able to put in his IEP that he spends x time per assignment or class per day. Some kids do best on their HW when someone else is sitting right there with them (I think it's called body doubling or something). Also listening to music while doing HW seems to help many kids with ADHD.

And like someone else mentioned, he might need either a longer acting medication or a booster dose in order to get him through homework time. If this is the first medication you've tried, then you may want to try others.

Does the therapist feel that she's actually connecting with your son while he plays minecraft? If not, you might need to either not allow him to be on a game during therapy, or have the therapist play the game too in order to connect better.

Good luck!

Solidarity, the screen time/after school balance is rough.

Here is what I am trying with my kids (my son is 9 and has ADHD, daughter is 6, no ADHD, I'm a single mom):

Morning routine-they have to get all of their morning tasks completed (make bed, dressed, eat breakfast, pack school bag, brush teeth) and if they complete those things AND we still have time, then they can have some screens before school.

After-school routine-they go to the after-school program, i pick them up by 5, home by 5:15. They have weekly chores so they must complete 1 chore after school, do homework and then they can play. Homework is a battle almost daily, but sometimes he chooses to do it at the after-school program.

I'm not allowing screens M-Thursday this year because they also have soccer and running club on weeknights and there is no time. The no-screen M-Th after school rule was ROUGH. Two weeks of screaming and intense outbursts from my son, but this past week was the first week my son started to get into the routine. My daughter could care less about screens so that's not an issue.

I might get more loose about screen time when the winter months roll around and activities have died down. But for now, it's starting to just become more of the routine...and the mornings have gone a lot better because he is super motivated to complete tasks so he can get a little screen time.

That's my routine, take it or leave it. Good luck, sounds like you are doing a great job trying to help him as best you can!

My son is 11 and we have a no TV policy during weekdays. Occasionally he will play video games for 30 mins on weekdays(this happens once a week or once in two weeks). Weekends he gets more time. He loves screens and we do have some battles once in a while. I tried to keep him occupied with activities. He has been told from the very beginning, this is the rule of the house. What works for me is consistent messaging and setting expectations in advance

I just listened to a really great podcast about screentime. theparentingjunkie.com/podc...

I do think it could be helpful to have the screens on the weekends only if it is affecting the quality of his homework. This podcast talks about ideas for helping your child find other rewarding activities on screen-free days and using clear communication explaining the boundaries to your child.

N_37 profile image
N_37 in reply to Rosie232

Oh yay!!! I’m going to listen - been trying to find other rewards and incentives as well.

My son with ADHD is into games too. He is 6 (1st grade) and of course, he doesn't play everything he wants, we control the games (usually, we choose them by link ojigames.com/boys-games/). We also limit time spending on gaming. We ask him to do homework first (at least a part of it) and then allow him to play for 20-30 minutes. But he knows that he won't let play until his homework is done. At first, it was hard and his reaction was denial, but later he got used to this scheme :)

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