Children love their screen time. Don’t we all? Screens can be a great learning tool and an efficient way to keep little ones entertained and occupied, but it can be all too easy to let the screen time get out of hand. It is always important to establish guidelines that are appropriate for kids and their families.
What They Watch and Play
The first guideline to establish is what shows kids can watch and what games they can play. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all programming be engaging and of high quality. The content should also be appropriate for the individual child. Television and game ratings can be a useful tool for parents when choosing what their children can and can’t watch and play.
How long They Watch and Play
Another important guideline to establish is how long kids have access to screens each day. The AAP has several recommendations for regulating how much screen time children have. Children 2-5 years old shouldn’t watch more than an hour per day, and the programming should be of high quality and watched with a parent. Limits on screen time for kids 6 and older should be consistently enforced, and families should designate special non-digital time.
It is always important to encourage both active and interactive play over screen time. Young children learn best through play and socialization directly with others in the real world. Tablets, phones, computers, and televisions should be enjoyable secondary forms of entertainment.