Screen Time Limits for Kids Under 2


No doubt about it — TV, interactive video games, and the Internet can be excellent sources of education and entertainment for kids. But too much screen time can have unhealthy side effects.

That’s why it’s wise to monitor and limit the time your child spends playing video games, watching TV, and on the computer and the Internet.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids under age 2 have no screen time, and that kids older than 2 watch no more than 1 to 2 hours a day of quality programming.

Here are 10 practical ways to make older kids’ screen time more productive:

1. Limit the number of screen time (TV, Video Games, Computer, Phones) hours.

2. Keep TVs out of kids’ bedrooms.

3. Turn off the TV during meals.

4. Don’t allow your child to watch TV while doing homework.

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5. Treat screen time as a privilege that kids need to earn — not a right that they’re entitled to. Tell them that screen time is allowed only after chores and homework are completed.

6. Try a weekday ban. Schoolwork, sports activities, and job responsibilities make it tough to find extra family time during the week. Record weekday shows or save TV time for weekends, and you’ll have more family togetherness time to spend on meals, games, physical activity, and reading during the week.

7. Come up with a family TV schedule. Come up with something the entire family agrees on. Then post the schedule in a visible household area (i.e., on the refrigerator) so that everyone knows which programs are OK to watch and when. And make sure to turn off the TV when the “scheduled” program is over instead of channel surfing for something else to watch.

8. Watch TV with your child. If you can’t sit through the whole program, at least watch the first few minutes to assess the tone and appropriateness, then check in throughout the show.

9. Talk to kids about what they see on TV and share your own beliefs and values. If something you don’t approve of appears on the screen, turn off the TV and use the opportunity to ask your child thought-provoking questions such as, “Do you think it was OK when those men got in that fight? What else could they have done? What would you have done?” Or, “What do you think about how those teenagers were acting at that party? Do you think what they were doing was wrong?”

10. Offer fun screen time alternatives like playing a board game, starting a game of hide and seek, playing outside, reading, etc. The possibilities for fun without the tube are endless — so turn off the TV and enjoy quality time with your kids.

 

©1995-2003 The Nemours Foundation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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