Recommended screen time allowance:
Children less than 18 months: Avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting
Children 18-24 months: If choosing to introduce screen media to children, do so with supervision and talk about what your child is seeing – this will help them learn about the world around them!
Children 2-5 years: 1 hour a day of high-quality programming, continuing to watch with child in order to help them understand what they are watching and applying it to the world around them!
Children 6+ years: Set time limits (stay consistent!) Observe your child to be sure the use of screen time is not negatively impacting academic performance, sleep, physical activity, or other behaviors important for overall health.
Information adapted from the American Academy of Pediatrics
Screen time negatively affects:
- Physical health (such as eyesight, healthy weight and activity level)
- Fine motor development
- Gross motor development
- Social development
- Child’s approach to learning
- Emotional development
- Language development
- Cognition and general knowledge
When a child is engaged in a screen, they are missing opportunities to learn about the world around them as well as practicing important communication and developmental skills (both social and physical).
Suggestions to decrease excessive screen time (adapted from yourtherapysource.com)
- Provide children with opportunity for play every day (active, imaginative, open-ended)
- Avoid using screens yourself when playing with your children
- Work with child to identify a physical activity to engage in at least once a day (walking the dog, playing ball, obstacle course with couch cushions)
- Have screen-free time every day (dinner, play time)
- Designate “screen-free zones” such as bedrooms or the kitchen table
- Finger painting
- Board games
- Put on a play, play dress-up
- Baking or cooking together
- Treasure hunt in bin of rice
- Listen to music, dance
- Build with blocks
If you are unsure about screen time, its impact on your child and/or your family, reach out to your current Westside Children’s Therapy therapist for further tools and strategies.