For better or worse, young children use screen time often and regularly. With the widespread use of screens throughout our normal lives, it is expected that young children would be exposed and introduced to screens themselves. However, the concern remains how much of their time is spent in front of a screen and how early they are being introduced to a screen.
Did you know Recent studies show that 68% of children under the age of 2 use screen media in a typical day, and that average screen time was 2.05 hours per day.
Parents want what’s best for their children—but they also lead busy lives. It can be hard to work, cook, clean and get kids to bed. Many parents choose to offer screen time because they believe media content is educational. They believe their child is learning. Parents have also admitted to not limiting screen time to avoid conflict or to entertain or distract their children. All very relatable reasons for busy parents.
However, screentime has often been shown to reduce the amount and quality of interactions with caregivers and families.
Pediatricians and other providers can support families with realistic goals for reducing screen time and encouraging time for families to connect with their child. For example:
Build healthy family routines! Help families remember how much their child loves them and wants to spend time with them. More than they want to spend in front of a screen. Support families to protect their time with their child and identify a regular time for play and connecting that may work for them. Even if it isn’t everyday.
Build screentime routines and boundaries: Our habits start early! This includes screen time. Support families to identify what their boundaries should be in the early years related to media use and time in front of a screen. The AAP offers a family media plan to help families get started.
Avoid screens before bedtime: Media use before bed can affect how well a child sleeps. Suggest families avoid screen time use at least 30 minutes (confirm this #) before beginning their bed routine.
Remove screens in the bedroom: Limiting screentime can be extremely challenging for busy families. Keeping a screen out of their child’s bedroom can be a more realistic goal and a great start.
Your child loves spending time with you! They learn so much from you and want to share their day with you. What are some things you enjoy playing together?
After a busy day, a regular bedtime can be a great way for you and your child to relax. His day has been busy too! Bath, brush, book, bed is a great start.
Find more resources on the AAP media and children webpage