How Much Screen Time Should Your Kids Have?

A family sitting on the couch watching television together.

Are you concerned that your children may be spending too much time in front of the television? Do you worry that your kids are on their smartphones and computers too often?

Children love television and other electronic devices, simply because they are entertaining. Although some screen time is good for educational reasons, too much television time can be unhealthy.

What are the negative effects of watching too much television?

There are many negative effects associated with watching too much television. These include things like higher risks of obesity, trouble sleeping, behavioral problems, and violence.

A child that watches increased amounts of television is more at risk of obesity due to the fact they spend lots of their time sitting still. The more active a child is, the lower the likelihood of obesity. So, it is important that you find ways to keep your kids as active as possible.

Too much television can also affect a child’s sleeping habits. A child that watches lots of television, is more likely to struggle to sleep or to get a good night’s sleep.

Young children who watch over two hours of television a daycare more likely to suffer from behavioral problems.

If you notice that your child has increased their screen time or is exhibiting any of the above behaviors, it might be time to consider reducing their screen time.

Boy watching television

How Much Screen Time Should Your Kids Have?

As parents, we need to think about how much screen time is right for our kids. Kids will always be drawn to exciting screens, but it’s up to us as parents to make sure that the amount of time they spend using technology isn’t having a detrimental effect on their physical and mental health. 1-2 hours per day is probably a good limit for kids of most ages. When parenting, it’s important to lead by example – take time away from your own screens and find healthy activities you can all do together. Balance is key when it comes to introducing technology into our children’s lives; setting boundaries around how long they can use screens every day, and keeping devices out of the bedroom are two easy ways we can make sure that our kids are only getting the most positive aspects of screen time.

How can you limit your child’s television time?

Once you realize that your kids have been watching more television than you thought, it is important to change that. Start monitoring the amount of time your children watch television for, and talk to them about the importance of keeping active.

Make sure to explain to your kids that you are putting new screen time rules in place.

How you reduce your child’s screen time will depend on the age of the child. Preventing younger children from watching too much television is much easier than stopping an older child. Especially as older children will have mastered the art of using the remotes themselves.

Start by turning off the background television. If you aren’t watching something fully, turn the television off. Don’t get into the habit of eating dinner in front of the television either.

Don’t allow your children to have a television or computer in their bedrooms. If your child has a television in their room, they will be more inclined to spend more time watching it. Kids that have their own TVs watch a lot more television than children who only have access to a family screen.

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Make sure that other caregivers of your child, like their father or grandmother, limit their television time too.

Ensure that the television is never used as a reward or bribe. Using screen time as a reward will only make it seem more important to your child.

Set a good example and limit the amount of television you watch. Be an active family, and make sure that weekends are spent doing things as a family, instead of sitting in front of the TV. Go for family walks, have a kickabout at the park, or go for a long bike ride – find things to do that the whole family can enjoy.

If screen time becomes a major problem, just unplug the television or lock it away. If you find one of your children is watching unauthorized television, it is important that they are punished.

If your children misbehave, remind them that you are doing this for their sake. Ask them if they want to fail school because they are too tired from watching television to concentrate. Or if they want to gain weight and be unhealthy because they spend too much time in front of the TV. If you explain your reasons calmly to your child, you may find that they are more willing to corporate with you.

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