The digital world has given us more than we’ve ever had. Whether it’s for education or entertainment, at some point, your child is going to be exposed to screen time. Digital media is hard to avoid, with TV’s, computers, tablets, and smartphones everywhere we turn. While it’s pretty challenging to completely avoid screen time, it’s important to limit the amount of exposure kids have. Limited screen time has been linked to improved focus, better sleep patterns, increased social development, and much more! Check out the tips below for limiting or avoiding too much screen time for every age.
Infants 18 months and younger:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends avoiding all digital media for infants from 0 to 18 months of age. While this may come as a surprise, research shows that by avoiding exposure to digital media, infants have the ability to develop stronger parent/child relationships and can actually increase brain development.
Toddlers 18 to 24 Months:
At this age, the AAP believes children have the brain capacity to understand what they are watching but they warn to focus on high-quality, age-appropriate content. Limiting screen time at this age is important to continue brain, social, and emotional development.
Children 2 to 5 years of Age:
The AAP limits screen time to one hour per day for children ages two to five. By limiting screen time for preschoolers, children are able to benefit from independent play, imaginative play, and outdoor play that is crucial for emotional, social, and motor development.
Children 6 years and Older:
For this age range, the AAP doesn’t set limitations, however, they suggest that parents set time limits on using media and that media doesn’t interfere with sleep, or physical activity. The AAP also identifies screen time as the time spent for entertainment purposes. Other uses of media for homework, does not count as screen time.
Overall, it’s important to limit screen time to let kids be kids! Rather than sitting and watching a video on a TV, computer, or tablet, encourage your child to play independently or with a sibling, friend, or even you! The benefits of play span children of all ages.
Kid-focused activities like The Little Gym can be another great option for busy families providing age-appropriate screen-free programs available after school, on weekends, and even when school is not in session (just around the corner!).