Screen Time For Kids: How Much Is Too Much?
Health experts are not at all happy with the amount of time kids spend in front of screens.
Children are spending way too much in front of the screens which are drastically raising the dispute for parents to cut down the time limit.
While I do not judge parents allow their children to play on various forms of media (especially since my son is allowed to watch YouTube videos and play on apps on his tablet as well as watch shows and movies on the television ) I do want to address that I think it’s important for children to be limited with their screen time.
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How much screen time for kids should you allow?
According to the latest research, on average an American 8 year old child spends 8 hours a day using diverse forms of media, and the average screen time for teenagers is even higher. Source: American Heart Association
But how much screen time for kids is considered “healthy”? In this same article published by the American Heart Association, the organization warns the parents to limit their kids screen time to 2 hours per day or less if possible.
How to limit your child’s screen time
Excessive screen time for children can pose different risks for kids. But as a parent, you can definitely try your best to limit the risks for your little one. Here are some ways through which you can reduce the screen time for your children:
- Make sure that your kids take a break in between; try not to leave them alone with the phone or in front of the television screen for hours unless absolutely necessary. It is completely understandable that life happens and sometimes it’s ok to park your children in front of the television.
- If you plan to allow your kid to have more than an hour’s screen time in an entire day; try to break the 60 minutes throughout the day as you don’t want to let your kid stay glued to the screen constantly for hours at a time (again, there are exceptions as mentioned above).
- Ensure physical activities are a part of their routine. Kids who get addicted to watching TV or playing video games, don’t indulge in outdoor activities. This contributes to the negative aspects more and more. It is very crucial that you make physical activities a large part of their everyday routine. You can even buy them a jump rope or indoor basketball set to keep them active indoors.
- Try to buy fun things to keep them entertained and learning when they are bored, even your local dollar store has puzzles, science experiments, matching games, coloring books, etc.
Technology is not the Bad Guy:
Technology or media is not the bad guy completely. It is what you use it for. There are a lot of healthy screen time methods and it is important for parents to teach their children what media mentor is.
Media can be a great teacher for kids aged 2 and above. Even when my son was a mere six months old I occasionally put on a Baby Einstein video for him. Learning videos are great for children, they can be taught through the screen time that they are offered.
As parents, it’s important for us to step in and set the limitations for the time that their kid spends in front of the screen. It is also very important to teach your kid that they are not allowed to use their tablets at dinner table, before bedtime and while they study. Also make sure that they are kept away from screens for at least 3 hours before they are put to bed so that they can get healthy sleep.
As responsible parents, be sure that you understands the disadvantages of long screen times for your children and restrict them accordingly. Again, there are always exceptions as I understand that life can throw curve balls and sometimes the best thing you can do for your child is park them in front of a television screen or tablet. I get it!
What do you think about limiting a child’s screen time? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!
-Holly, the imperfect momma.