Parenting Tip of the Week – Make an Effort to Turn Off the Screen

Screens are everywhere these days, but did you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests limiting screen time for your child? Our suggestion is to make a point to spend one-on-one time with your children and without the TV, computer, or iPhone. An hour per day away from screens is an hour that you can spend reading together, or learning about your child’s day at school.

Limiting Screen Time and Being Present with your Child

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We’re surrounded by screens in our daily life. They’re in our cars and trains on our commutes to work, they’re in our offices and schools, and when we come home they’re usually placed prominently in our homes. And really, given how much these screens add to our lives, they are a good thing to have.

But when it comes to your children, it can also be good to get away from screens. If you don’t already, try taking an hour out of your day to turn off all the electronic devices in your home and spend time doing activities with your children. For younger children that can mean spending time coloring or reading, for your school-age children it could be helping with homework or simply learning about your child’s day at school. Whatever it is you do, getting away from the digital world for a while allows you to be present with your children and to strengthen your bond.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should have their screen time limited depending on their age. As of October 2016, the AAP recommends that:

  • For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they’re seeing.
  • For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
  • For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.

Beyond the AAP recommendations, we recommend that you spend whatever time you’ve set aside together with your children. For your younger children, spend time reading to your child, solving puzzles together, or painting and drawing. With your older children, you can work together on homework or play outside to have fun and exercise. Whatever limits you set, just make sure you’re spending your tech-free hour in a quality way with your family.

Do you have ideas for fun activities to do when the screens are off? Let us know by tweeting us @PCAAmerica or by leaving a comment on our Facebook page!