Limiting Screen Time with Your Child

Caucasian girl playing with her tablet outdoors on the patio during summer time.

When standing in a long line or traveling, screens can be a life saver. They help keep kids happy and distracted, while parents can get through the trials of the moment. Screens are extremely popular with children of all ages, but is there such a thing as too much?

The answer is yes. Just like you can overeat or overconsume just about anything, too much screen time can also be bad for your health. This is especially the case for a child, who needs time away from the screen to learn and develop other skills.

Too much screentime can lead to near sightedness, obesity from lack of exercise, and slower academic performance.

There’s many benefits to reducing screen time, but kids are often not onboard with the idea. Here’s a few tips on how to cut down screen time so your kids can have a healthy, balanced life.

Start Small

If your kids are used to unlimited access to screens, going down to the pediatric recommended two hours a day can be a huge shock. Rather than surprise them with a sudden cut off in their screentime, try reducing the amount of time they get in smaller increments.

This gives your child time to adjust to the changes.

Add Screen Free Zones to the House

One way to reduce screen time with the kids is to banish them from certain places in the house, such as at the dinner table. With their screens away they’ll be able to tell you about their day and interact more, increasing family bonding time.

Eating dinner together has a lot of benefits besides reducing screentime, but making sure your kids (and you too!) don’t have phones at the table can make a big difference in spending quality time together.

Discussing their day may also be a good time to check in on how kids are perceiving their online world. Social media use in teenagers is often associated with depression. Asking about what they’re doing online can help you as a parent keep tabs on their emotional health and wellbeing.

Go Outside

When you are taking away something kids love and want to do, it makes sense to help fill that gap with something else. Taking your child to the park or other outdoor activity is a perfect way to fill that gap. Outdoor activity will help keep your child healthy with exercise and playtime, but may also play a role in helping develop good vision.

It’s recommended to spend at least two hours outdoors in outdoor lighting to help develop good vision, and to prevent further development of myopia in older children.

There are many benefits to reducing screentime for children. When children are not playing on their screens, they’re doing other things—often ones that contribute to their overall well-being. This includes things like crafting and drawing, which develop fine motor skills, to playing at the park which develops gross motor skills.

When kids are on their screens, they’re not developing in any new ways—which can mean they fall behind their peers. Reducing screentime can help them be present, learn about the world around them, and be overall happier people.