4 Smart Ways to Help You Win the Screen-Time Struggle

If you’re worried about screen time, you’re not alone.

In a 2017 survey by Common Sense Media, 70 percent of parents said they were concerned about the amount of time their kids spend using digital media. So how much is too much? The Canadian Pediatric Society recommend kids under two have minimal to no exposure to screens. From the age of two to five, regular screen time shouldn’t exceed an hour per day. (Uh oh.) But don’t unplug just yet. More important than the time a child spends on screens is the content he or she is viewing. Here’s how to make sure your child is getting quality screen time.

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Beginning around the age of two, quality TV can contribute in a positive way to a child’s language and literacy development. Engage with kids as they watch and ask questions about the show they’re watching and what they’re learning. And, if there are only so many times you can sit through Paw Patrol (guilty, as charged), educational apps and e-readers are good options, too. Continue to read and engage with your child while reading an e-book, the same as you would a regular book.

Know your ABCs

There’s a reason Sesame Street has been has been one of the top ranked children’s programs for nearly 50 years. Airing on PBS since 1969, each episode is built around educational goals and helps prepare young children for school. (We attribute it to our love of cookies, too.) By addressing real life themes in an educational way, Sesame Street is said to help kids learn empathy, tolerance and respect. More recently, in response to the shift in how kids consume media, PBS has released the Ematic PBS Playtime Tablet, which comes preloaded with over 25 games.

Put in a little FaceTime

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, video chat apps like Skype and FaceTime can promote healthy development in kids. Plus, it’s a great way for kids to stay in touch with Grandma and Grandpa.

Play by Play

Encourage your child to play and create with media. Maybe he’s a budding videographer or she’s got a talent for coding. With a little encouragement and the right tools, kids can develop their creative skills (and have fun!) by making their own content.

Ultimately, quality outweighs quantity when it comes to screen time. As long as your child isn’t missing out on essential healthy activities like exercise, sleep and social time, moderate screen time is totally fine–and even a positive thing.

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Melissa Greer

Melissa Greer

Melissa is a writer, editor and new mom. She lives in Toronto with her husband, daughter and two cats.