ADHD Challenge: No Screens for a Week


The holidays are over.  That means BOTH my husband and I go back to the grind HARD.  His event season starts to build for spring and my teaching holiday ends with no long break, again until school’s out in June.  Whew, I’m tired already.


Moana Saves Mama


When I’m drained, Moana becomes my best friend.  During that lull before dinner, I feel programmed to switch on a show so everyone can “calm down.”  But, are they calming down?  They’re sitting on the couch, quietly.  Their bodies can “rest,” but do they?  My kindergartener and preschooler have been at a school for at least half a day.  I’m a teacher so I know, A LOT OF SITTING happens at school.  




Then there is the processing and conversation that doesn’t happen.  My three year old reenacts much of her life while playing with her dolls.  When we’re glued to Moana, that brain-enhancing play doesn’t happen. And my 5-year-old, his dinos are calling his name.



The Plan

These are some of the reasons we’re enacting a no-screen week.  Similar to a no spend week, we cut screens including games, phones, tv shows, movies and iPads for 1 week. I do use my computer from 6 to 7am for blog work, and I might use it after bedtime if I have grading to do, but otherwise, no screens for me, either.  




Is It Dangerous for Young Children to Watch Screens?

I was prompted to do this after winter vacation.  It rained for the third day and that evening each family member was watching something different on their own screen.  When I took youtube play-doh videos away so my daughter could go to bed she started crying.  I honestly thought I  scratched her, accidentally.  She was full-on wailing.  But, nope.  It was just from the loss of a screen.  “S%^&,” I thought, “it’s time to take a break from screens.”


There is a lot of research around TV-watching and the lack of brain development it may cause.  Newer research is reporting a thinning of the cortex.  Children who don’t crawl, walk, or attempt to move as much in their toddler years, might not develop complete right and left brain sensory processing skills. You can read a bit about the “critical years” here.  Basically, youngest children are the most susceptible to the disadvantages of screen time. If you want a more in-depth explanation of what happens to children’s brains on screens you can read this post written by occupational therapists.


So, now that I used scare tactics, are you willing to take the No Screens Challenge?  We’re starting Sunday.  If your job, your child’s schoolwork, or other important doings take place on screen, why not just cut them off from 5PM until bedtime?  Baby steps, right?


I’ll be posting pics of my kids or myself doing things WITHOUT a screen this week, for motivation and ideas.  You can follow me on IG @familyaddventures.


Let’s do this! Happy 2019!





Published by Jet Educational Therapy

Nicole Santiago is an educational therapist, student advocate, and founder of JET Educational Therapy. As an ed therapist, she assesses and teaches clients (adults and adolescents) to manage and grow their executive functioning skills which include emotional regulation, task initiation, and time management. As an advocate (IEP coach), she is a member of COPAA and ensures inclusive (special) education students receive the most appropriate educational services possible. She often collaborates with OT's, SLP's and neuropsychologists all in the name of student improvement and success. Her practice, JET Educational Therapy, is located in San Antonio, TX, and everywhere (virtually). The author grew up an army brat and spends time with her three ND children and husband in Puerto Rico whenever possible. She writes about mental health, parenting, education, and entrepreneurship on her blog:

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