Screen Time Dilemmas

We’ve all read the articles warning us of the dangers of too much screen time and the impact on child development. But in today’s culture, technology is not just a luxury but a necessity. In 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics introduced new, more flexible screen time recommendations that do not include strict limits or amounts of screen time for children. At Child’sPlay Therapy Center, we recognize the value of technology and the importance it will have in our children’s lives. However, we recommend the following guidelines:
• Set aside “screen free” times, like no screens at dinner, or no screens on weekends unless it is family oriented, such as family video game night.
• Insist on unstructured, free play for at least 1 hour per day, preferably outdoors whenever possible.
• Children under 2 need interactive, language based play. No screen time at all is the best rule for this age group!
• Preschoolers need to play with toys that develop their fine motor and language skills, such as construction toys, home living/dolls, toy trucks, etc. Try to keep screen time to a maximum of 1 hour daily.
• For elementary age children use screen time as a reward for completing chores or homework.
• For pre-teens and teens, monitor WHAT your child is doing on their device. The “what” is just as important as the “how much”!
• Be a good role model! When you are with your child, be present with them and not on your devices. Set limits for yourself that model practical, purposeful device usage.
If you notice signs of anxiety, depression, or behavioral problems in your child, it could be a sign of too much screen time. If these problems become severe or are making an impact on your child’s or family’s quality of life, please contact us at 205-978-9939 (Birmingham) or 205-618-8095 (Chelsea) to discuss how we can help.