kid watching tvWe live in a digital society so it is hard to avoid screen time. Screen time includes watching videos, TV, playing video games, and using a computer, phone, or tablet. Controlling your child’s screen time can be difficult. Here are helpful tips for controlling screen time with young children.

  1. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages screen time for children younger than 18-24 months. If you want to introduce media to children 18-24 months, make sure it’s high quality and educational. Avoid solo media use.
  2. For children ages 2-5, limit screen time to one hour per day of high quality programming.
  3. Unstructured play time is more valuable than screen time in children younger than the age of 2. Children younger than the age of 2 are more likely to learn and remember information from a live presentation than from a video.
  4. By the age of 2, children can benefit from certain kinds of screen time, such as programming with music, movement, and stories. Co-view with your child to help him/her understand what he/she is viewing and how to apply it to real life and do not let screen time replace time spent reading, playing, or problem-solving.
  5. Make a schedule for screen time. Limiting younger children to 1-2 hours a day for screen time is recommended. Avoid letting your young child play on your phone or tablet throughout the day because this screen time can really add up.
  6. Monitor the content when your child has screen time. Content that your child can learn from will be more beneficial to your child.
  7. Make sure that you are making time throughout the day to interact with your child. Ask questions about your child’s day, go on a walk and discuss things you see in nature, do craft activities such as coloring, play with blocks, etc.
  8. Monitor your child’s reaction once screen time is over. Does your child have new ideas or ask inquisitive questions or is your child irritable, anxious, or withdrawn?
  9. Avoid giving your child your phone to play on while at a restaurant, in the car, or during errands. It’s important for children to learn how to manage their emotions and giving them a screen robs them of opportunities to learn how to cope with and move past boredom or emotional discomfort.
  10. Preview any new app that you get for your child. Look for apps that encourage your child to actively participate and that support learning and strategic thinking. Play alongside your child in order to open up conversation about what they are doing/learning.

Too much screen time can affect their social, emotional, and behavioral development. High media use has been associated with shorter attention spans, hyperactivity, ADHD, and aggressive behavior. Studies have shown that too much screen time can contribute to weight gain and childhood obesity. Screen time can also be a hard habit to break as kids get older, if they are exposed to excessive amounts at a younger age. Overall, monitor the amount of time spent in front of a screen, along with the quality of that time. Nothing can replace the need for real-time interactions, play time, and conversations. These are key to helping a child develop normal language and social skills.


Information taken from