Moderating your child’s screen time

I have a son who would be on a screen all day if he could. In this video, I share some things that have helped us limit his screen time.

Here are some interesting (and a bit staggering) statistics about kids and screen time, according to the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood:

On any given day, 29 percent of babies under the age of one are watching TV and videos for an average of about 90 minutes.

23 percent have a television in their bedroom.

Between their first and second birthday, on any given day, 64 percent of babies and toddlers are watching TV and videos. 36 percent have a television in their bedroom.

Even the most conservative findings show that children between the ages of two and five average 2.2 hours of screen time per day, and some preschoolers spend as much as 5 hours a day.

Screen time can be habit-forming. The more time children engage with screens, the harder time they have turning them off as they get older.

Including when they’re multitasking, 8- to 18-year-olds consume an average of seven hours and 11 minutes of screen media per day—an increase of 2.5 hours in just 10 years.

For older children and adolescents, excessive screen time is linked to increased psychological difficulties including hyperactivity, emotional and conduct problems, difficulties with peers and poor school performance.

I’m not sharing these to scare parents or make them feel guilty, but to encourage awareness of how much technology we are allowing our kids to have and make adjustments as necessary.

Here are the tips I discuss in the video:

  1. Don’t start the morning with technology. It’ll set the tone for your entire day.
  2. Require that your child gets ready for the day and does a daily job before your he or she begins screen time.
  3. Load up your tablets with educational games instead of mindless games.
  4. Have a time limit for screen time and set a timer.
  5. Have an activity in mind for your child to help him or her transition from technology time to play time.
  6. Take a day off from technology. Your child will come to expect that day as a tech-free day.
  7. Keep vacations and playtime with friends technology-free.
  8. Lead by example. The more your kids see you on technology, the more they will want to be on it as well.

For my tips on managing your own time with technology and media, click here.

I shared some of my favorite educational apps for kids in the video. Please tell me if you have some recommendations!

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How to turn your child into a bookworm

Reading to your child and teaching him or her to love reading at an early age will:

  • Improve his or her vocabulary and communication skills
  • Boost his or her self-esteem
  • Prime your child to succeed in school
  • Prepare your child to more easily learn a second language
  • Strengthen family bonds (as you read together)

Unfortunately, bookworming doesn’t come naturally to every child, and forcing it too much can backfire. In this video, I share a few things you can do to gently encourage your child to love reading:

Read More