How Much Time is Too Much Time? 5 Screen Time Strategies
As parents, we are often asking ourselves, “how much screen time is too much screen time?”
Late last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has changed their stance on recommended screen time, which used to tell parents to limit their child’s screen time to less than 2 hours per day – all screen time! But with the increase of technology within schools and the growing popularity of educational gaming, AAP has now differentiated between entertainment and educational programming.
American Academy of Pediatrics has a Media Plan tool which helps you to determine how much screen time your child should have, based on their age. The tool shows the recommended hours of sleep, and allows you to add your child’s typical schedule, including how much time is spent on daily activities such as family time, meals, and school. The time remaining is how much time your child has left for screen time each day.
We also have a chapter in our book, Parenting in the Digital Age called “How much screen time is too much screen time,” which dives deeper into the results of research on screen time, so you can make a decision that’s right for your family. In this chapter, we also highlight the warning signs to watch for if you think your child is addicted to their device, and share strategies on how to start meaningful conversations with your children so they can start building good screen time habits today!
Using these tools as guidelines, you can make set time limits and be firm on them. These tips will help build good habits, self-control and independent responsibility.
5 Strategies for Screen Time
1. Set an alarm
An alarm lets you and your child know when screen time is over. It helps to set the tone for how long screen time allows and instead of you (the parent) having to say “times up”, the alarm does it for you. If you’re anything like me, the alarm also helps you to not lose track of the agreed upon time limit!
2. Model screen time behavior
This strategy is so powerful yet so simple. Model the screen you’d like to see in your child by putting away your phone or computer when your child isn’t supposed to be on his.
3. Put away devices
When it’s not a designated screen time, remove temptation for your child to be on his/her device by having a basket to place devices in. (This can also be used to store devices for safe keeping at the end of the day too!)
4. Make areas of your home screen free
The AAP recommends that bedrooms, meal time, and parent-child playtime be screen free for children AND parents!
5. Turn off the wifi
When it’s not a designated screen time, turn off the wifi (or change the wifi password) so your child is unable access to online applications and connections.
Ultimately, the choice of how much screen time is the right amount is up to each individual family. The most important thing to remember is that you children have enough time for adequate sleep, physical activity, and social interaction with family, along with their connections in online spaces.