How Much Screen Time is Okay for Children by Age?

How Much Screen Time is Okay for Children by Age?

Screen time do's and don'ts have become a trigger topic these days. You know, it's the type of thing you worry about being judged for when you express your opinions about it. So, what amounts really are appropriate for your little one?

That question is hard because, although there are guidelines given, each household will be different. With that being said, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently re-released their recommended limits:
  • Under 18 months old: Avoid use of screen media
  • 18-24 months old: Minimal (less than 1 hour) high-quality programming, viewed with a parent present
  • 2-5 years: Screen use of 1 hour per day, with the involvement of parents
  • 6 and older: Consistent limits of media use should be set. Media should not interfere with other necessary things such as physical activity, sleep, and human interaction.

Some of you might be thinking "sounds about right," and others may be thinking "well geez, my kid definitely does more than that." If your reaction is the latter, don't be too harsh with yourself. Parenting is a sport of learning and growth that has many circumstantial exceptions. We do, of course, think that this information provided by the AAP is important, and know that it can be beneficial to all children!

The intention of the academy's guidelines is to keep media as something that can be a tool. When properly utilized, media can give children a door to learn, create, and connect. However, it is wise to consciously try to keep media from becoming a crutch or distractor when active and involved parenting is not the most convenient thing.

Obviously, life isn't perfect, and there are days that we just really, really need to take advantage of the beauty that is a Disney movie (or two). Striving to keep those days as "exceptions" rather than "the normal" is really where the key to the subject lies. Perhaps on the crazy busy days, you pull out some "busy toys" or books that you have purposely kept out of the normal toy rotation?  Now, more than ever, there are so many amazing imagination and creativity provoking toys on the market.

For many families, success is found when a media plan is created with clear rules and expectations for everyone included. Take the time to discuss this plan with the entire family. You can all work together to implement it and find better alternatives to media when appropriate!

Written by: Alyssa Liston

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