Let’s be honest, it is easy to give your child a phone or tablet when you need them to keep themselves occupied. In this digital age kids are surrounded by screens constantly. The AAP and Common Sense Media stresses that it is important to monitor children’s screen time. Although it is important for kids to know how to operate as ‘digital natives’, there are limits that need to be placed on screen time
How much screen time is okay?
All screens are equal
Spending time on a LeapPad, IPhone, and then watching Tv are all considered screen time and need to be added up.
Limited screen time to between 1 – 2 hours max per day
Actively monitor what your kids are up to when watching TV/ screens, and encourage other forms of activity and play as well. Reading, playing games, arts and crafts are more stimulating entertaining for young minds. In our home, we allow Caitlyn (my three year old) mostly free reign on weekends, however we do limit her screen time in the week. To be honest, if its a day turns out to be a heavy TV/ screen day, then we just balance it out.
Be a positive role model
The reality is that when you are watching tv, guess what, your child will want to emulate you. Display positive behaviours such as reading and other forms of activities. Be present and engaged with your child, play together, or read a book together. Invite your child help you with small housework chores. Caitlyn absolutely loves doing the dishes with me (although its more clean up afterwards for me!).
Watch tv together
Make watching movies and programmes with your kids a habit so that it becomes a family activity. Consequently, you will be less likely to use tv as a ‘babysitter’. Watching a movie with Caitlyn on the weekend after Saturday morning activities is a good way to relax.
Hide or disable the screens
Yes I hide the screens! I find in our house it is just better sometimes to not have the phone or laptop in sight. This way we don’t even think about a screen and we end up doing other activities like puzzles, colouring, etc.
I am conscious of my daughter’s screen time, but I am not fanatic about it. If she ends up watching a lot of tv as that’s just how the day turned out, then we just balance out in the next day or two.
What are your thoughts on screen time?