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4 Ways to Effectively Limit Screen Time for Kids

4 Ways to Effectively Limit Screen Time for Kids

In today’s digital age, things are definitely different than they were years ago. Back then, parents would offer their child a toy to play with, or food to eat to stop crying fits. Now, some devices could be the ticket to tame tantrums. Apart from making use of such as their mode of entertainment, gadgets also help them learn in this distance learning set-up. Sure, everything being digital makes everything seem like it is now convenient and accessible. But, it tends to blur the lines of when to stop using devices even for kids. How can we implement ways to limit unnecessary gadget use? Stick around to know more about how you can manage screen time for kids.

How Does Longer Screen Time for Kids Affect Them?

Excessive screen time for kids can affect not only their eyes but also their overall well-being. The American Academy of Pediatrics revealed that today’s generation of children spends an average of 7 hours a day for screen time use, more than ⅓ of time in a day. This may result in inconsistent sleep patterns, problems with behavior and attention, as well as obesity.

Inconsistent sleep patterns

The longer screen time a child is exposed to, the more likely he/she will have a hard time sleeping or keeping a regular sleep routine. If a child watches television before going to sleep, he/she may also have difficulties falling asleep afterward.

Behavioral and Attentional Problems

Excessive media use can usher in some academic challenges, concentration problems, hyperactivity, and even mood and other behavioral concerns.

Obesity

Children who are fixated on the screen for longer periods of time tend to be less active and may end up being couch potatoes. Oftentimes, they would reach for foods with great amounts of fat and sugar while busily watching and enjoying their time.

Because of this, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a guideline for recommended screen time for kids.

  • Below 18 months: Parents or guardians should limit screen time for only video chatting purposes. He/She should accompany the child while doing so.
  • 18-24 months: 1 to 2-year-old kids may be allowed to use gadgets for nuggets of educational content with the guidance of their parents.
  • 2-5 years: Control recreational screen usage to one hour on weekdays and three hours during weekends.
  • 6+ years: There are no set time limits provided, however, parents can motivate children to practice healthy habits and to reduce dependence on doing everything through their screens. They should set a limit for screen time for kids.

What Are Ways to Effectively Limit Screen Time for Kids?

Being in this digital age, it is undeniable that gadgets and screens are all part of our daily lives. But, there are ways in which we can help limit the children’s extensive use of devices, which includes the following:

Create a screen time schedule for everyone to follow

Before anything else, it is important to plan out how the days go by not only for your kids but also for the whole family as well. When the kids see that their parents are also living by their words, they are more likely to follow through with the schedule consistently.

You may start by following and setting these few rules of thumb in your household:

  • No gadgets during mealtime
  • Take away the screens one hour before bedtime

Spend time as a family

During screen downtime, you may take the opportunity to do things as a family, such as playing board games, puzzle making, or even baking cookies.

Aside from limiting screen time, activities could also encourage the members of the family to engage and catch up with each other. It could promote a room for both entertainment and socialization to take place.

Designate a screen-free zone in the house

Having electronic devices in the bedroom might disrupt sleep. Put all the devices in one place before going to bed. This is to make sure your child would not reach for the moment they wake up or right before they are supposed to have some rest.

Bedrooms should be regarded as areas for rest and sleep, so it’s best to make sure that it happens.

Find new hobbies for them to try

Put devices away and try new things! Encourage your child to engage in physical activities like sports, or even through making music and art. Children like participating in activities, especially if they are introduced to them at a young age.

Place devices where you and your children will not be able to see them. It’s easier to forget they exist when they are not visible at all times, resulting in less screen time.

Key Takeaways

When combined with other activities outside the realm of the digital world, screen time for kids can be a part of a healthy lifestyle.

Keep in mind that the fundamental goal is to develop a positive relationship with screens. Moderation is vital in all aspects of life, even for screen time management.

These small steps can bring about long-term improvements in your child’s development.

Learn more about child health here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

10 Ways to Minimize Screen Time, https://fit.sanfordhealth.org/blog/10-ways-to-minimize-screen-time-article Accessed October 21, 2021

Screen time and Children: How to Guide Your Child, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/screen-time/art-20047952 Accessed October 21, 2021

Limit Screen Time, https://www.actionforhealthykids.org/activity/limit-screen-time/ Accessed October 21, 2021

Screen Time and Children, https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Children-And-Watching-TV-054.aspx Accessed October 21, 2021

Screen Time Guidelines for Babies and Children, https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/screentime-baby-todd.html Accessed October 21, 2021

The Importance of Limiting Screen Time, https://penfieldbuildingblocks.org/parenting-tips/importance-limiting-screen-time/ Accessed October 21, 2021

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Written by Fiel Tugade Updated Oct 22
Fact Checked by Bianchi Mendoza, R.N.