How Much Screen Time Should Your Child Have?
It’s the question on every parent’s lips – how much screen time should your child have? Some people take a relaxed approach, hoping their child will ‘self-regulate’ their screen usage. Others avoid screens altogether, saying they do nothing but harm. Overall, most people take the approach that screen time is OK as long as it is balanced with other activities.
Screen time for children, particularly in the younger years, is pushed as educational, with a saturation of education-based apps in the market. While a lot of those games can help children learn literacy and numeracy skills, they will never allow them to learn essential skills that are needed for literacy and numeracy such as holding a pencil, rolling a dice, turning the pages of a book and so much more. Too much screen time can also be detrimental to your child’s behaviour and social skills. Taking a relaxed approach might seem like a good (and easy) option but you might find yourself with a child who is addicted to a screen and has great difficulty integrating into the ‘real world’
So, in answer to the ‘big’ question, how much screen time should your child have? The Raising Children Network recommends the following:
0-18 Months Old
0-18-month-old babies should avoid all screen time other than video chatting with family and friends.
18 Months – 2 Years Old
Children aged 18 months to 2 years old are able to have limited screen time as long as they are watching high-quality programs or apps and have adults interacting with them while they are engaging in screen time.
2-5 Years Old
Children between 2 and 5 years should have one hour of supervised screen time in which an adult is interacting with the child.
6 Years or Older
Children aged 6 years and older should have limits according to what you decide and these limits should remain consistent.
Screen Time and Children – Why Worry?
Too much screen time can result in children missing out on developing a wide range of interests. Without these interests, children will miss out on the chance to interact with many other people. Instead of interacting with children who share their hobbies, screen-addicted youngsters may lose confidence in their ability to form relationships and become less socially active.
Strategies for Limiting Your Child’s Screen Time
If you’re looking for ways to regulate you child’s time in front of televisions, computers and mobile apps, consider the following:
- Limit your own screen time as a well of modelling healthy behaviour
- Create areas where screens are never used like the bedroom and dining room
- Use parental controls and know your child’s passwords as a condition of having a personal device
- Set daily or weekly limits to encourage children to be mindful and self-regulate their screen time
- Take part in new family activities that substitute for screen time
At Mindarie Keys Early Learning School, our child care educators pride themselves on allowing children to explore through play and social experiences. For more information about our natural environments and play-based learning or to discuss enrolment, contact Mindarie Keys Early Learning School today.