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Toddlers and Screen Time: How Much is Too Much?

When it comes to toddlers and screen time, it can be hard to know how much is too much. With tablets and smartphones becoming increasingly common, and more and more apps and games available for kids, it’s important for parents to be aware of the potential risks of too much screen time for their toddler. In this blog post, we will look at the potential impacts of excessive screen time for toddlers and provide some guidance on how to make sure that your child’s screen time is managed appropriately.

The AAP recommends no screen time for children under 18 months
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under 18 months should have no screen time whatsoever. This is due to the fact that infants and toddlers learn best through hands-on play and exploration, not from staring at a screen. A baby's brain develops rapidly during their first year of life, and it's important to make sure they are provided with activities that encourage their growth and development, not hinder it.
It's also important to note that young children need plenty of physical activity in order to reach their milestones. Babies should be encouraged to explore the environment around them, including toys, books, and other objects that stimulate curiosity and movement. Allowing them to engage with these items will help them gain the skills they need to navigate the world and develop physically and mentally.
Ultimately, it's important for parents to remember that screen time is not a substitute for play or learning activities. While screens may provide some short-term entertainment, they can’t replace the lasting educational benefits of hands-on exploration and playtime with parents.

For children 18-24 months, screen time should be limited to 1 hour per day
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that toddlers 18-24 months have no more than one hour of quality screen time per day. This includes both interactive and non-interactive activities, such as educational programming or video chatting with relatives.
It is important to choose high-quality programming for your toddler. For example, programs such as Sesame Street and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood are designed for young children, and can help them learn about numbers, shapes, colors, and more. It is also important to be actively engaged in the experience: ask questions about what your child is seeing and follow their lead in exploring the program.
It is also recommended that toddlers have breaks from screens throughout the day. This gives them time to explore their environment, practice problem-solving, and interact with people and objects around them. Studies have shown that too much screen time can affect a toddler’s attention span, development, language, and motor skills.
Remember that quality screen time should supplement other activities and not replace them. While some structured programming is beneficial for toddlers, it’s important to also provide plenty of free playtime, outdoor activities, and social interactions with peers and adults.

For children 2-5 years old, screen time should be limited to 2 hours per day
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents limit screen time for children 2-5 years old to 2 hours per day. This limit should include both educational content, such as interactive apps and videos, as well as entertainment-focused content.
Young children can benefit from interactive educational programs, but only when used in moderation. Excessive screen time can be linked to sleep problems, poor diet, and decreased physical activity. Too much passive media viewing has also been linked to a decrease in attention span and language development.
If you decide to incorporate screen time into your child's daily routine, there are some strategies you can use to help them get the most out of their experience while minimizing potential negative effects. Choose educational content that is age-appropriate, interactive, and encourages exploration and problem-solving. Monitor your child's usage and talk to them about the content they are viewing. Lastly, plan activities away from screens such as outdoor play, reading, and art projects.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your child gets the most out of their screen time while limiting the potential negative effects.

For children 6 years old and up, there is no set limit on screen time, but it should be balanced with other activities
Screen time for older children can be beneficial when it is used in moderation. When it comes to screen time for 6 year-olds and up, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend a specific amount of time, but instead recommends that parents establish balance between screen time and other activities.
Encouraging active play and limiting sedentary activities like screens can be important for children’s overall health. Screens can have a negative impact on physical activity, sleep, cognitive development, and social interactions. For this reason, it’s important to limit the amount of time children spend in front of screens while still allowing them some time to explore the digital world.
Ideally, parents should develop a plan with their children that includes daily activities and limits on the type of media consumed. They should also be mindful of the content that their children are accessing on the internet, television, or video games. When setting limits, parents should consider their children’s age, interests, and personality.
It’s also important to recognize that screen time can be educational as well as fun. Parents should try to encourage their children to use devices for educational purposes, such as researching a topic or playing educational games.
Parents should also set clear guidelines about when and where screens can be used. This will help ensure that screen time doesn’t interfere with other activities such as studying or engaging in physical activity.
Above all, parents should be aware that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for screen time for children 6 years old and up. It is important to take into consideration their child’s individual needs and interests when establishing limits on screen time.

Tips for limiting screen time
1. Set firm limits – One of the most important things you can do to ensure that your child isn’t overdoing it with screen time is to set firm limits and stick to them. Establish a maximum amount of time that your child is allowed to be on screens each day, and keep track of how much time they actually spend on them.
2. Introduce alternative activities – Provide your child with fun alternatives to screen time so that they don’t feel like their options are limited. Go for a walk, bake a cake, play an instrument, or take on a craft project together – anything that will keep them occupied and away from screens!
3. Use parental controls – Use parental control settings to limit what your child can access on the internet, including age-appropriate content. You can also use apps and services like Qustodio or Bark to monitor your child’s online activity.
4. Limit technology in bedrooms – Make sure that your child’s bedroom is a technology-free zone by taking away phones, tablets, and computers at night. This will help ensure that your child gets the rest they need and limit their exposure to inappropriate content.
5. Get rid of distracting devices during meals – Eating should be a time to connect with family, not to focus on screens. When you sit down to have dinner, make sure all phones, tablets, and computers are put away.
6. Spend quality time together – Make an effort to spend quality time together away from screens and other distractions. Whether it’s playing a board game or going for a bike ride, it’s important for your child to have regular, quality interactions with you and other family members.
7. Be a good role model – Finally, be aware of how much time you’re spending on your own devices and take the lead when it comes to limiting your own screen time. If your child sees you constantly checking your phone or spending too much time online, they may follow your example.
Tags: Parenting, Play

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