Technology has put the world in our hands. You can access the internet from all types of devices. Your watch, phone, tablet, laptop, and desktop computers provide access to the internet and all types of entertainment. Managing screen time for children with autism is important for their development and keeps them from sitting in front of their devices or TV all day. To help manage your child’s screen time and reduce the harmful effects of too much screen time, Camp Worth has the resources for parents to help.
At Camp Worth, we have an autism parent training program to help parents raise their children with autism in a warm and encouraging home environment. Our autism therapy programs include behavioral and individual therapy and recreational or play therapy for a full-service autism treatment program. If you would like more information about managing screen time for children with autism and resources for autism parents, call 855.915.2545 today to speak with our caring support staff or fill out our online form.
The Effects of Too Much Screen Time for Children with Autism
Children have access to digital media more than any previous generation before. For children with autism, digital media can be very alluring. The repetitive and predictable nature of digital video and how customizable it is makes it ideal for children with autism as they can watch videos for hours over and over again on a subject that interests them.
Some children with autism will prefer using digital media to video chat with their friends rather than talk to them face to face as it does not produce some of the anxiety that some social gatherings can create. Your child may say they have no friends but then have several online friends they talk to every day.
While letting your child with autism have screen time for a few hours a day can help them, you will want to monitor how much time they spend online. Too much screen time is known to lead to:
- Decreased cognitive ability
- Impaired language development
- Increase in hyperactivity
- Short attention span
Managing Screen Time for Children with Autism
Children with autism should not have more than three hours of screen time each day. You can split this into shorter periods, like one-hour increments or whichever works best for you and your family’s schedule.
Some ways to help you manage your child’s screen time include:
- Set scheduled screen time for every day. Set a time before or after dinner with set time limits or split it further so they can enjoy screen time throughout the day as part of a reward.
- The rules you set for your child should apply to everyone in the household, including parents.
- Fill their afternoons and evening with structured playtime. Schedule play dates and other activities instead of letting them watch TV.
- Stick to the schedule you set with specific hours. Put the schedule on the wall where they can see it every day.
- Near the end of screen time, tell your child they have ten minutes. This will remind them of their schedule and start preparing them for another task or activity.
- Reward your child when they follow the schedule. Enforcing positive behavior will help them stick to a schedule.
Make sure everyone is aware of the schedule and sticks to it. If your child with autism sees others using their tablet or phones outside of those set times, it can potentially lead to unwanted behavior.
Find Resources for Managing Screen Time for Children with Autism at Camp Worth
At Camp Worth, we understand the difficult balance between monitoring your child’s screen time and keeping them busy. Children with autism need continuous stimulation throughout the day to keep themselves occupied. To help you manage your child’s screen time, we offer family counseling and autism parent training programs to help you create a healthy and encouraging home environment where your child with autism will be happy and thrive.
If you need help managing screen time for children with autism, call 855.915.2545 today to speak with our staff or fill out our online form to learn more about our resources for parents and the effects of too much screen time for children with autism.