Strategies for Limiting Screen Time for Children

In the modern world, we use technology to do virtually everything, from ordering a coffee to conducting our daily work. Access to the digital world opens up many exciting opportunities for kids to learn and have fun. However, the amount of time kids spend on phones and tablets and playing video games has increased in recent years, leaving parents wondering how they can limit screen time and get their kids out into the real world. In this post, we will explore different strategies for limiting screen time for children.

Screen Time: Pros and Cons

While our connected world makes it easier to learn new things, find new ways to play, and connect with friends, increased screen time is also linked to many health and developmental problems for kids.

Kids spend anywhere from 4 to 9 hours a day on screens, a figure that has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic, when entire populations were forced to stay indoors. Too much screen time can lead to sleep, weight, and mood problems, and many kids are spending more time indoors, not exercising or reading books. Tech-savvy kids can also be exposed to inappropriate content that can impact their behavior.

Limiting Screen Time for Children

Here are some tips for limiting screen time in children.

Set Limits

The easiest way to limit screen time is to set time limits. Limit TV or YouTube to 30 minutes a day or 1 hour split into smaller increments at specific times of the day. The timing can be adjusted for different days, such as when your child is at school.

Be a Positive Role Model from an Early Age

From birth, your children will watch what you do and the objects you use. If they see you glued to a smartphone or constantly watching TV, this will become the norm for them, and they’ll start wanting to do the same.

It is important to set boundaries and rules for your children when they are young and act as a positive role model in this area. As they grow up, you could involve your children in determining the family rules you must follow.

The guidelines you set can be rules for where, when, what, and how people use digital devices and the consequences for not following those rules. One example is making bedrooms “no-screen zones.” That includes TVs, phones, tablets, computers, and handheld gaming consoles.

Have Screen-Free Days

Digital detoxes are a great way to get away from screens and do other activities. On those days, you can agree to do different activities as a family, such as playing games, playing sports, reading, listening to music, or having family chats.

You can also add screen-free times during daily routines, such as no devices during meals or before bedtime.

Make Screen Time Interactive

This are fun ways to get everyone moving while using technology. You could play games based on what you have seen on TV, play “what happens next,” or do exercises during commercials. Your kids could also talk about what they have seen or do some writing/artwork about it.

It will take some trial and error to figure out the best strategy for your family, which can be challenging, especially with older kids. The best course of action is to set boundaries when they are as young as possible and act as a positive role model so that kids are naturally drawn to alternatives and hobbies that don’t involve spending hours online.

If you would like more advice on this, book an appointment with one of our friendly pediatric teams in Littleton.