Set Healthy Limits on Screen Time

posted 2/4/20 -- Kids are spending more time than ever with screens - and at younger ages.

It is not uncommon to see children playing on a phone or tablet to keep them occupied during errands, meals, or just hanging out at home. Since screen time is bound to occur at some time in your child’s life, it is important to know how to use it and what limits to set.

The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines allow some screen time for children as young as 18 months, but with some usage tips:

  • For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. 
  • For children ages 18 -24 months, find high-quality programming and always co-view or co-play.
  • Limit screen use to 1 hour of high-quality programs for children ages 2 to 5 years.
  • For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media.

Beyond selecting quality programs, parents are encouraged to:

  • Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
  • Make sure media doesn’t take the place of adequate sleep or physical activity.
  • Co-view and co-play to ensure the lessons or new vocabulary being introduced are being understood.

Screen media is here to stay, so it is up to parents to make sure it is being used in a healthy and educational way.