The Great Media Detox

About 3 weeks ago, Nathan was downstairs watching TV while I was upstairs changing Belle. His TV show ended and he started whining for me to change the channel. I asked him to give me a moment and he started crying. In case you didn’t know, Impatience is his middle name. And it was then, at that moment in time, that something in my just screamed out ENOUGH and I cracked.

I picked him up from the couch and took him to the living room and told him that it was enough with the TV addiction and it was time to play with some of his toys. We have a nice big mat for him to play in with lots of toys. He was furious and started throwing the biggest tantrum in history. So I told him as soon as he stopped crying for 10 seconds I would pick him up and we could play together.

1 minute…10…30…60…75…120….180 minutes…and he didn’t stop for 10 seconds. 10 seconds wasn’t that much to ask for, right? So I sat by him and had a nervous breakdown while he cried and cried. But I was determined not to break. And guess what. I was finally stronger than my 4 year old!

That day he fell asleep at 5pm.

The next day when the time came for me to put him down on the play mat, he whimpered for about 10 minutes, then he stopped, rolled to the side, and started eating his hand.

I did a victory dance.

The following day he didn’t even whimper. He quietly rolled to his back and reached for a toy. I almost fainted with sheer joy. My Nathan was finally interested in playing with toys!!!!

This probably sounds weird to all of you. But the little tyrant has gotten through 4 years in this planet without ever having “floor” time. It used to be that floor time meant a massive tantrum, which he always won, and then we’d be so traumatized that we wouldn’t try again for months, and then the same thing would happen. So whenever he wasn’t eating or in therapy, he was sitting on his Chill-out Chair watching TV.

But since that glorious day, the TV addiction has been broken and he is finally able to spend time on the floor. Hallellujah!!!

He still doesn’t do much…he will typically just roll to his side and start eating his hands. But there are moments (like today), where a toy catches his eye and he will reach out and play with it. I’ve even noticed him scooting a little.

Now that we are doing lots of Feldenkrais, my hope is that his Feldenkrais lessons combined with lots of floor time will eventually lead to something. Some movement maybe? Something? Anything? Whatever he can produce on his own, I’ll take it!

It used to be that he would watch TV in the morning while having breakfast, during his ABR therapy (2 hrs / day), during his laser therapy (45 min’s / day), and an hour before bed….so, at least 4 hours / day. Now, he is only allowed to watch TV on Sundays.

And guess what? He survived! Not only that…he is showing an interest in toys…he is showing an interest in his own body….he is showing a greater interest in communicating. How amazing, huh!

So now during ABR we read him books, sing him songs, he plays with his ipad, plays with toys… During transition times, he’s on the floor playing… To wind down, his dad got some toys and they play outside like all the other little kids on the block (RC cars, planes, helicopters, rubber band guns).

Believe it or not the Great Media Detox is one of our greatest triumphs. And the little boy lurking underneath the media addiction is even more lovely than ever … happy, sweet, engaging, playful. TV used to hypnotize him, and he would become a zombified space cadet. Now he’s more present than ever…and we love it!

I just had to share because I am oh so happy we’ve accomplished this!

PS. I also think the cold laser has helped him with this. We do something called “unwind” with the laser, where we place it on his adrenals, sacrum, occiput, behind his ear lobes, and solar plexus. These points induce a state of relaxation. So I think the laser has helped take him out of “sympathetic (fight or flight)” and into a “parasympathetic” state.


  1. This is what I love about the blogging community. I find inspiration and ideas in other people’s shared experiences. Thank you for this. Because a huge light bulb went off when I read this and I’m ready to put my twins on their own Media Detox (they both have autism). Blessings to your family.

  2. Charlie was in media over-drive this summer. Happily, school has been weaning him nicely. We still watch TV every day, but only during therapy times and not all the time.

  3. Yay Mommy wins!

    Good for you guys! Floor time is the best. Maxx loves being on the mat now. We had our moments where the mat was evil but now he asks for it so he can play with his cars. It also motivated him to try and scoot\crawl for the toys he wanted.

    This is great Marcela. Give that cutie pie a big kiss and hug from us. Little princess too:)

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