Metro Therapy Special Children's Center

Winter 2019 Newsletter

Managing Screen Time

What is screen time?

“Screen time” is any time spent in front of a screen, such as a TV, computer, video game player, or tablet. Screen time is a sedentary activity. Very little energy is used during screen time.

What’s Recommended

(American Academy of Pediatrics)

0 to 18 months: No screen time, with the exception of video- chatting with family and friends

18 to 24 months: Some screen time. Parents should co-view it with their children to help explain what they are viewing.

2 to 5 years: No more than 1 hour a day of educational programming, together with a parent or other caregiver who can help them understand what they’re seeing.

5 to 18 years: Set consistent limits on screen time and the types media being viewed. Ensure that media does not interfere with sleep, physical activity, and other essential behaviors.

Effects of too much screen time

  • Posture can get worse
  • Can have problems with your sleep
  • Your social skills can suffer
  • Your body can store more energy than it uses
  • Sitting in front of the TV can increase desire to snack

TIP: Use a timer to help children remember when it is time to end screen time.

TOO MUCH SCREEN TIME is linked to less interest in school, poor grades, and an increase in the risk of becoming overweight

Reducing screen time and what to do instead

Gradually reduce: Start by gradually reducing the amount of screen time the child gets each day, for example is they currently get 3 hours a day reduce it to 2 and a half hours for a few days and then reduce 2 hours and so on. Have the child help build the schedule for screen time with the parents.

Use a timer: Set a timer for the child’s screen time, also give the child a 5-minute warning before their screen time ends.

Role Model: Have parents be a role model for screen time. Have set “unplugged” times during there day where all electronics are turned off, including parents.

Audiobooks: Have the child listen to audiobooks or podcasts, many libraries have audiobooks that can be rented

Independent play: Promote independent play by planning special activities, this can allow the parents some time to cook or clean. A main rule for special activities is that they are typically not available for children on a regular basis, this helps to keep them interesting and exciting for the child. Some examples for special activities are;

  • Quiet time boxes filled with special toys, books, puzzles, stickers or games
  • A sensory tray filled with dry rice or beans
  • A kinetic sand or playdough box

Help out: If the child is old enough have them help around the house. If parents are making dinner have them help gather the ingredient, mix things together, help wash the dishes or set the table.

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