Nearly any baby book will tell you the importance of keeping your child away from screens until the age of two, but most do not go into much further detail. Decreasing screen time not only can protect your child’s eyesight and increase physical activity but also can decrease the incidence of many mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and poor attention in school. Here is a look at general screen time guidelines, along with steps you can take to decrease your child’s screen time starting today.
Not Letting Technology Take Over Daily Life
While screen time can gradually increase as children grow older, it is best to minimize it as much as possible. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for infants, no more than one hour daily of screen-time for toddlers, and no more than two hours daily for school-age children and teenagers, not including school-related work they must do.
As you may have already found, it can be difficult to get your children off their smartphones and tablets and away from the television when they see you constantly using this technology. However, it is important to look for fun solutions and to model healthy behavior in this area as much as possible. Here are just a few tips for helping your children get away from their screens and back to imaginative play, reading, and other activities that work their bodies and minds.
- Encourage outdoor activity. Purchase a basketball hoop, or play catch in the backyard.
- Encourage your children to invite their friends over for a sleepover. Play games instead of watching movies.
- Have a weekly game night rather than a movie night.
- Help your children pick up a new hobby. Some good options could include sewing, drawing, or woodworking.
- Take cooking classes together, and let your child cook dinner or bake a new treat once or twice each week.
We know that you have many questions about how to keep your children as healthy as possible, not only physically but also mentally, emotionally, and socially. At Kids 1st Pediatrics, we are here to help you make sense out of all the recommendations you have already received and to give you tips to help you keep your child happy and healthy all the way into adulthood. Give us a call to schedule your first appointment or a return visit for your child today.