In the article, “Less Screen Time Means a Better Mind and Body for Kids,” Katherine Lee talks about the benefits of limiting your child’s screen time. She reports that less screen time gives kids more time to do other activities like going outside, socializing, reading, or exercising.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) indicates that spending too much time on screens has been linked to the following: (1) not getting enough sleep, (2) poor grades, (3) and obesity. The AAP encourages parents to limit screen time to 1 hour a day for kids ages 2 to 5. They recommend avoiding screen time for babies and children under 18 months. Lee reports that the benefits to cutting back on screen time are more sleep, better grades, lower body fat index (measure of weight and height) and less aggression in children.
Lee suggests some strategies you can use to help your child cut back on screen time.
- Set Time Limits and Stick to Them – she says to establish clear rules and times for screen time. For example, watch television for 1 hour after school and text with friends for 30 minutes. When the time is up, then stop these activities. Don’t bargain or give in to begging. Set limits and then be as firm and consistent as possible.
- Do not allow children to have television or other tech devices such as iPads or smartphones in their room. Having devices in bedrooms is linked to lower test scores, sleeping problems, and obesity in children.
- Know what your child is watching and then actively discuss what they are viewing. Be selective and help your children pick age appropriate material to view. Lee also suggests limiting the amount of violent content your child is exposed to. Teach your child to think critically about what they are seeing.
- You may end up having arguments with your children about screen time and what they are watching. They will probably not like having limits when it comes to screen time. Just remember that there are many benefits to limiting and monitoring your child’s screen time.
In addition, you can consider getting professional help from a trained therapist.
Applying this information can help improve your parenting skills!