It appears as though the more we dive into the digital world the less we can escape it. I always find it mind-boggling to see young toddlers playing on smartphones with ease at restaurants. I sometimes have to pause and remind myself that this is the new norm. But what are the consequences of introducing these devices to our children? At what age are they even appropriate? A recent study out links a child’s screen time to poor social, mental, and intellectual development. But how can we avoid the inevitable?
Since we are all fairly new to the tech age, it seems there are no distinct guidelines to go by. Here are some of my tips for healthy screen time for your children and how to practice them in your family:
- Avoid digital overload: Set a timer each day. 1-2 hours is what I recommend for optimal “plugging in” time.
- Be mindful of your child’s physical activity and weight. Weight gain may also accompany excessive screen time, and for kids with ADHD, electronics act as an extra stimulator to their already busy brains.
- Make screen time a communal event. Young children should NOT have cellphones or TVs in the bedroom—have them bring their devices into the living room to avoid losing track of time.
- Limit screen time 1-2 hours before bedtime. The light messes with their circadian rhythm and can keep them wide-awake when it’s time to go to bed.
- Parents: set an example! Unplug when you get home from work, when you are picking up the kids from school, and especially dinner! These are crucial times to talk with your children about their day and other important matters.
So remember, monitor their use, keep track of time, and make sure the guidelines are followed! Check out my video below for more tips on healthy screen time. And most importantly, take a day to unplug from the digital world completely—breathe in the fresh air and get in some quality outdoor time.