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Tips for Managing Children’s Summer Screen Time

Published in Pediatrics, For the Health of It Author: Jill Amsberry,DO

With the school year wrapping up for the summer, your child will soon find themselves with more free time. Parents of school-aged children will be no stranger to the phrase, ‘I’m bored.’ Is it OK to let them spend more time in front of screens? It’s natural for parents to wonder how much screen time is appropriate for their child. It’s important to be aware of how much time your child is exposed to screens and set limits. Here are some tips to help manage your child’s screen time in the summer.

  1. Set boundaries and establish rules. For children under the age of 2, screen time isn’t advised. It’s recommended that children ages 2 to 5 get no more than one hour of screen time per day. Children 5 and older should be limited to no more than two hours per day. Avoid watching screens during mealtimes and keep devices out of your child’s room at night.
  2. Avoid passive screen time. There are benefits depending on the type of programming your child is exposed to. Programming that helps develop skills can be an advantage. Screens shouldn’t replace activities like playtime, reading and social interaction.
  3. Watch programming together. This way you’ll be able to help your child get a better understanding of what they’re learning. You’ll also be more aware of the content’s messaging.
  4. Use parental controls. If you can’t always preview the content your child is exposed to, make sure to filter out the content that you don’t want them viewing.
  5. Encourage playtime away from screens. Summer is a great time to get outside and be active.
  6. If you have older children at home, communication is very important. Make them part of the discussion and explain to them why there are rules.

If you have questions relating to your child and screen time, make an appointment to speak with your child’s health care provider.