screen time with young children

Managing screen time as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle for children can often be hard to achieve.

We’ve put together some handy tips to help you and your family find the right balance.

  • Children (and TEENAGERS) need rules in place to guide screen time – e.g. ‘You can watch 1 episode of your show, after you have spent some time playing outside and eaten all of your lunch.’
  • Allow them to be a part of the rule making process – if your child feels that they have set the rules, they will be more likely to follow them.
  • Remember to allow some flexibility in the rules to account for holidays, travel, weekends and other events – because, let’s be real, a plane trip without some sort of electronic device is no fun for anyone!
  • Make rules that apply to the whole family – e.g. no phones at the dinner table. After all, your children learn by watching you, you want to set a good example for them!
  • Decide on consequences for when rules are broken. Children always want to test their boundaries, be prepared for this and respond calmly and consistently.
  • Use routines to help guide screen time for younger children. Rather than saying ‘you can have 1 hour of TV’, you could say ‘you can watch TV until dinner is ready’. Children may not know how long an hour is, but they are sure to know when an episode of their favourite show is up!
  • Give children a warning before ending screen time, so they know what is expected. Giving them a 5 or 10 minute warning can help prevent a total meltdown when time is up.
  • Allow children some choices to help them feel less restricted by their screen time rules. You could give them the option of screen time before or after their bath, as an example.