01 Jun Recommendations for Managing Kids’ Screen Time
By Kara Ferreira
Screens have become an integral part of our lives, offering both benefits and challenges. As parents, it’s important to strike a balance between allowing children to explore the digital world and ensuring their overall well-being. Psychologists emphasize the importance of setting reasonable screen time limits and implementing effective strategies to manage children’s screen time.
Screen time recommendations vary depending on the child’s age and developmental stage. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides the following guidelines:
- Infants and Toddlers (0-18 months): Avoid screen time, except for video chatting with loved ones.
- Toddlers (18-24 months): Introduce high-quality educational media under adult supervision and limit screen time to a maximum of 1 hour per day.
- Preschoolers (2-5 years): Encourage educational programming, co-viewing with parents, and limit screen time to 1 hour per day of high-quality content.
- School-aged Children (6 years and older): Establish consistent limits on the time spent using media and ensure a healthy balance between screen time, physical activity, social interactions, and other developmental activities.
Especially as children get older, they can become more resistant to limits on their screen time. Here are some tips for managing screen time in the home:
Lead by Example
Children learn from their parents’ behaviors. Set a positive example by demonstrating healthy digital habits, such as limiting your own screen time, engaging in face-to-face interactions, and prioritizing other activities.
Establish Clear Rules and Consistent Limits
Clearly communicate your expectations regarding screen time to your children. Set specific time limits for various activities and ensure consistency in enforcing those limits.
Create Tech-Free Zones and Times
Designate certain areas of your home, such as bedrooms or dining areas, as screen-free zones. Encourage tech-free activities during family meals, outdoor playtime, and before bedtime to foster healthier habits.
Encourage Balanced Activities
Encourage children to participate in a wide range of activities beyond screens, including physical exercise, creative play, reading, hobbies, and social interactions. Balance is key to a child’s overall development.
Engage in Co-Viewing and Co-Playing
Actively engage with your child during screen time. Co-viewing or co-playing allows you to discuss the content, ask questions, and reinforce positive values. This shared experience strengthens the parent-child bond.
Encourage Media Literacy
Teach children critical thinking skills to evaluate and analyze media content. Help them understand the potential impact of advertisements, unrealistic body images, and other digital influences. Empower them to make informed choices.
Use Parental Controls and Monitoring
Utilize parental control features on devices and apps to restrict access to inappropriate content and set time limits. Regularly monitor your child’s online activities and discuss any concerns or issues that arise.
Foster Offline Connections
Help children build healthy relationships by encouraging face-to-face interactions with friends and family. Engage in activities that promote social skills, empathy, and emotional intelligence.
Managing children’s screen time is crucial for their overall well-being and development. By following recommended screen time limits, setting clear rules, and promoting a balanced lifestyle, parents can nurture healthy digital habits in their children.
Healthy Children, Beyond Screen Time
American Psychological Association, What Do We Really Know About Kids and Screens?
American Academy of Pediatrics, Media and Children
Kara Ferreira is a G3 Contributing Writer