Media Minutes: Raising Kids in the Digital Age
You are a wise parent if you limit the amount of media your child consumes. Just like we make sure our children's diets are balanced, we need need to make sure they are achieving balance in other areas of their lives. The amount of time your child spends engaged with media is one of those areas. Screen time is defined as any time spent in front of electronic games, the TV, or other handheld devices. Is there a developmentally appropriate guidline, though, that helps parents identify how much time they should allow their children to engage in digital entertainment?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends absolutely no screen time for children under the age of two. This is for good reason. The brain is just developing and does not benefit from being exposed to electronic gadgets. Loving interactions with primary caregivers is how babies and toddlers learn best. So while it may be tempting to park that little bouncy seat in front of show that was created "just for infants and toddlers" in order to get another load of laundry done, or get dinner started, avoid it at all costs!
For kids older than age two, the guideline is no more than two hours of screen time a day. Shocking? That includes TV time, computer time and gaming time combined. Even more shocking? Many homes far surpass this number of hours and parents may wonder how they can transition to less electronic entertainment in their homes in as painless a way possible.
Welll, here ya go!
Want a fun way to track how much screen time is taking place in your house? Here's a dandy way. I adore these little "Screen Time Tickets" that were whipped up by the folks at iMom:
They also have a handy "Screen Time Tracker" for you to keep pace with the amount of time your child is spending engaged with electronics: