Screen Time

Rebecca Toal by Rebecca Toal Additional Needs

Rebecca Toal

Rebecca Toal

Blessed, busy mum to four beautiful girls, the youngest with complex special needs due to extreme prematurity. We are always looking for ways to ma...

My 9-year-old daughter is deaf with cochlear implants and mostly blind, non-verbal, and requires close supervision and assistance round the clock.

Middle of March is a LONG time to be out of school, believe me. Any of you with children in the same boat will wholeheartedly agree I am sure.

During Lockdown, Brielle’s class teacher and her 1:1 assistant sent her little videos she could watch on her tablet of her favourite nursery rhymes and songs, and Tac Pac songs with actions. She watched these over and over again! Along with some of her favourite You Tube stations.

Needless to say, her pink iPad has become her (and my) new best friend!

Never before did we rely on it for her entertainment and education so heavily.

My husband even sweetened the whole experience by buying a £30 Bluetooth receiver that jacks directly into her cochlear implant and means she can hear the songs but the rest of us don’t have to be subjected to ‘Hickory Dickory Dock’ over and over again! Genius invention.

Honestly, we wouldn’t have survived Lockdown and summer holidays this year bereft of any camps or usual activities without her trusty iPad.

She can happily watch songs for at least an hour at a time.

Sometimes I feel guilty that she’s been on her iPad too long- but how much really is too much if it’s educational and she is happy and content?

I don’t want her to become a screen zombie or want her iPad all the time, but it really is a great babysitter if I’m completely honest.

I have laundry and preparing food that never stops with six people in the house.

Last night our family treated ourselves to an Indian dinner out (Eat out to Help Out scheme)- sweet deal getting the bill for half price! I gave Brielle her peg feed while we were eating poppadoms and dips, and then she happily sat watching her iPad with Bluetooth receiver while I had my hands and attention free to enjoy the main meal and chat with the rest of the family. It worked amazing. So much less stressful that trying to syringe feed in between mouthfuls of my own dinner!

So, I’m happy enough to use her iPad when it makes sense, in moderation and to reward her too- truth be told she won’t have as much time for it now she’s back in school until 3.30pm!


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