Screen Time Battles
Screen Time – Is it Really That Bad?
As parents, we are constantly worried about the amount of screen time our kids are getting. We hear all sorts of horror stories about how screens are bad for kids and how they’re going to ruin their eyesight or turn them into social misfits. Is screen time really that bad? How much is too much? And what can we do to reduce it? In this blog post, we will explore these potential dangers and offer some tips on how to reduce them.
How much screen time is okay for kids of different ages?
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including the age of the child and the type of activity they are engaged in. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under the age of two should not have any screen time at all. Although many of us use the screen to stay connected to family members close and far.
For children aged two to five, they recommend limiting screen time to one hour per day. For children aged six and up, they recommend limiting screen time to two hours per day.
Of course, these are just guidelines and every family is different. Some families may find that their children can handle more screen time than the AAP recommends, while other families may find that their children need less. It’s important to monitor your child’s time and pay attention to how they are behaving both inside and outside of the home. If you notice that your child is having trouble paying attention in school, struggling to fall asleep at night, or becoming aggressive or irritable after spending too much time on screens, it may be time to cut back.
There are a number of things you can do to reduce your child’s screen time. Here are a few tips:
– Set rules about how much time is allowed and when it is allowed. Screen time is a privilege.
– Remove media from the bedroom – this will help ensure that kids are getting enough sleep.
– Make sure that all screens (phones, tablets, computers, etc.) are turned off during mealtimes and family time. This includes the parents.
– Encourage your kids to engage in other activities such as playing outside, reading, going to the library or park, and spending time with friends and family.
– Install a tracker on devices that allow you to see how much time your child is actually spending on the computer.
– Talk to your kids about the dangers of too much screen time and why it’s important to limit their usage.
There are many fun, healthy activities that you can do with your kids instead of letting them spend all day on screens. Here are a few ideas:
– Play outside – go for a walk, ride bikes, play tag, etc.
– Have a picnic in the park or backyard
– Read together – go to the library and check out some books, read stories before bedtime, etc.
– Make art projects – paint, draw, make sculptures out of clay, etc.
– Do some science experiments – there are a ton of great ideas online!
– Cook together – make dinner, bake cookies, etc.
– Play board games or card games – there are so many great options out there!
As we set boundaries with screen time with the children let us not forget our own habits. Screens fill our lives from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed. We scroll through social media, watch documentaries, check work email, and even shop online late into the night. screens can be a huge distraction from what is really important in life. Balance is key for screen time just like anything else in life. Instead of cutting screens out completely, try setting limits on when and how screens can be used. This will help to create healthy screen habits for both children and adults.
May I recommend an excellent book for us adults called Reclaiming Conversation by Sheryl Turkle. It’s a great read. The bottom line is that we as parents have to deal with the screen time in our children’s lives. It is not going to go away. Technology is here to stay.
There are so many challenges that we as parents are facing with our children. Parenting is tough. For more support don’t forget to sign up for our online Masterclass – Understanding Children’s Behavior for the Millennial Family. Hope to see you there.