Screen time

I’ve just read an article about screen time and it alarmed me as they quoted that some parents allow their children to be in front of a screen for 4 hours a day! When you are only up for 12 hours that is quite a long time for a small child.

Screen time in this article consists of television watching and computer game playing – not work as I know many adults would use screens for most of their day.

The concern here is why are we allowing our children this many hours of screen time?

  •  Are we too busy with work and this is our babysitter?
  • Do we see the screen as an educational tool so deem it OK for it to be on for a long period of time?
  • Have we run out of options to entertain our children?


Here are some of my suggestions and what I do at home:

  • During the week (and most weekends) we only allow television in the afternoons and try to limit it to up to 2 hours a day. There are days when I am tired, need to get something done or the children just need a break themselves and I think television is great for this. We generally watch ABC for Kids or our own DVD’s.
  • I avoid television in the morning as I find it just puts the kids out, they just don’t seem to function as well after even half an hour. The article suggests that the brain can get tired from too much stimulation  – many computer games can do this too.
  • When my children need downtime we pick up some books and sit down together to read. We all get a break, we can sit closely and have some quiet time.
  • I allow them to play with ‘stuff’ I keep old boxes, bits of plastic, toilets rolls and let the kids create there own things. They can use the masking tape to make their own inventions and I find this can keep them busy if I need to do some work.
  • Find simple toys that empower them and ignite imagination – blocks, duplo, string, lego, playdough. All of these toys require little supervision or adult input. You may need to start them off for 5-10 minutes but then you can get things done on your own.
  • If you feel that you really need the TV perhaps you need to look at how your child plays. Perhaps they need to be taught how to play; so show them. Find a period of the day where you can give them your full attention so you can upskill them in play. If children cannot play they will find learning at school difficult.
  • Have a look at what your child is watching or playing. Is it age appropriate? Is it over stimulating?
  • Could you try music instead? There are some great Kids radio stations and great CD’s. I have found having the radio on at home can provide that added stimulation.

And lastly:

  • Get outside! Even if you take your laptop or washing to fold out with you, being outside is much better than always hanging inside AND you’ll feel better for it!




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