Screen Time? 4 Tips to Manage It | Reducing screen time | Kids and screens | Too much TV | Parenting | Parenting Tips | #parenting #parentingtips #screentime #reducingscreentime #lessscreen
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Screen Time? 4 Tips To Manage It!

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You all know how I feel about screen time for kids… if you don’t, head OVER HERE to read about my biggest parenting failure 🙂

So when Christine Martin reached out to share her 4 tips to prevent digital damage in kids, I got really excited!

Christine is an early education expert and consultant and the author of You’ve Got This! Keys to Effective Parenting for the Early Years. Her book is an amazing resource, accompanying stressed and overwhelmed parents through this crazy parenthood journey we’re all walking.

But without further ado, let’s take a closer look at how she recommends we help our children with managing screen time!


Did you know that a screen time study published in JAMA Pediatrics found a link between excessive screen time and poor performance on development milestones at 36 and 60 months?

Other studies are unfortunately associating digital overuse with teen depression…

Here are 4 tips to manage our kids’ screen time and decrease their risk for screen-related health or developmental problems:

1- Distinguish Screen Time From Play Time

Screen Time? 4 Tips to Manage It | Reducing screen time | Kids and screens | Too much TV | Parenting | Parenting Tips | #parenting #parentingtips #screentime #reducingscreentime #lessscreen

Christine recommends that we do not think of screens as a toy for our children. With play being such a fundamental learning tool for young children, we need to limit screen time and separate it from other types of play.

In doing so, our role as parents becomes to “show [our kids] the importance of setting boundaries, using their imaginations, and being active.”

2- Get Involved

Screen Time? 4 Tips to Manage It | Reducing screen time | Kids and screens | Too much TV | Parenting | Parenting Tips | #parenting #parentingtips #screentime #reducingscreentime #lessscreen

Over the years, I have heard countless times how important it is for our children to hear words. That the more we speak to them, the better their communication skills and vocabulary will be.

Unfortunately, a child in front of a screen has very limited interaction with its surrounding. Christine Martin recommends engaging with our kids about on-screen activities to help increase their communication skills and teach them ho to navigate digital media.

Screen Time? 4 Tips to Manage It | Reducing screen time | Kids and screens | Too much TV | Parenting | Parenting Tips | #parenting #parentingtips #screentime #reducingscreentime #lessscreen

When my daughter was 3-years old and we had just started going cold turkey on all screens, the phychiatrist who saw her and answered my concerns, said to keep her off of screens for a while. When we would be ready to re-introduce the TV, she should only be watching it with an adult so we could comment during the movie and explain to her what she was seeing. This would make TV watching a social event where we could discuss ideas and actions.

“Parents can talk with their children about the videos they watch and games they play like they would discuss characters and plotlines in a book,” Martin says. “When there is parental engagement like this, a child’s vocabulary and literacy skills develop and family communication gets stronger.”

3- Make Mealtimes Screen-Free

Screen Time? 4 Tips to Manage It | Reducing screen time | Kids and screens | Too much TV | Parenting | Parenting Tips | #parenting #parentingtips #screentime #reducingscreentime #lessscreen

This is by far my favorite! And while we have abused screens when our children were young and mixed up screens for a babysitter, we have NEVER, ever, had a screen on while eating.

I am sure that this is deeply rooted in our European culture, but mealtime is made for conversations, sharing, decompressing, and interacting.

Christine Martin takes it a step further and says: “While it can be tempting to pack the iPads to have some adult conversation while you’re out to eat, doing this doesn’t teach your children about manners, properly engaging in conversation, or being mindful of other patrons.”

4- Set A Good Example

Screen Time? 4 Tips to Manage It | Reducing screen time | Kids and screens | Too much TV | Parenting | Parenting Tips | #parenting #parentingtips #screentime #reducingscreentime #lessscreen

We are guilty, Christian and I, of taking our phones out to research a “quick thing” when we shouldn’t. This is the tip we personally need to do the most work on… because it will be hard for our children to disengage from screens if they see us consistently looking down at our phones or tablets.

Christine Martin reminds us that “if [children] see you spending a lot of time with your face in front of a screen, they’ll also want to use technology at the same time. Try your best to save your time on social media for your lunch break, during nap time, or after your children have gone to bed.”

I know we all agree to those tips, but our day-to-day lives have become so extremely connected that we are having a hard time leading by example and not using screens as the extra pair of hands we all wish we had.


Christine says it best: “Learning how to use screens, verbally communicate or socially interact will have a positive impact on language skills, relationships and overall health. Spending time with their parents, learning through play is what young children need and want.”

On that note, I wish all of us much patience, play, giggles, and conversations with our littles, one less screen at a time!


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Screen Time? 4 Tips to Manage It | Reducing screen time | Kids and screens | Too much TV | Parenting | Parenting Tips | #parenting #parentingtips #screentime #reducingscreentime #lessscreen
Screen Time? 4 Tips to Manage It | Reducing screen time | Kids and screens | Too much TV | Parenting | Parenting Tips | #parenting #parentingtips #screentime #reducingscreentime #lessscreen

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35 Comments

  1. Screen time seems to be such an important discussion between parents. I think it has it’s good an bad sides so is something that should definitely be thought about.

  2. I do try to watch screen time. My daughter will go outside at least. It’s harder for my son since he’s a teenager. Usually food pulls him away.

    • My kids love to be outside too! They spend so much time and energy just playing with their bicycle, stones, and sticks!! I am wondering what the teenage years old for us… they scare me just thinking about them!

  3. Setting a good example is huge. We all need less screen time and more fun time.

  4. Making meal time screen free is surely a must in order to enjoy family time.

  5. I’m not huge on screen time for kids. I know Ipads and phones are everywhere these days and it’s so easy to put your kids in front of these devices, or even TV but it’s so much better for kids to self play with toys, or play outside with others 🙂

  6. I don’t have kids but this is a very important topic that everyone should be talking about. Great tips.

    Chad
    http://www.mosaicslab.com

    • I agree. There is actually a large population of children developing a condition close to autism and related to overexposure to screens… so sad!

  7. Alexandra Cook

    I’ve always wondered how I would handle this. When I have kids, that is. Great insight.

  8. Dealing with screentime for the kids is such a difficult issue! It’s so easy to use it as a babysitter but the screens have become so important to the kids’ lives even in school. Your 4 tips are very useful — the meal time one is the most difficult for us!

    • I agree, kids are spending WAY too much time in front of screens at school. Mine even do testing on computers in Kindergarten / 1st grade, which is insane in my books! But I used to have screens be my babysitter and breaking away from that was so difficult, yet VERY rewarding!

  9. I totally agree that we really have to manage and guide our kids screen time. Thumbs up for this awesome and helpful tips!

  10. I will share your post with my friend who has a 15 months baby who is just getting interested in watching tv. I am sure she will find it very helpful.

    • Awesome! Yes, please do. It is so easy to give in to screens around that age, when it means that the kids are sitting still while watching TV…

  11. Agree! Having a schedule for screen time is critical. Dinner time is definitely screen-free.

  12. These are great tips! Definitely could be for all lot of help for all the moms out there. Thanks for sharing!! Keep it up!

    XO
    Candace
    http://www.thebeautybeau.com

  13. I think we could all use a bit less screen time! So important to lead by example. I will be making use out of these tips because I know my body will thank me for it.

  14. Your blog is enriching. It just enhances my knowledge of the topic.

  15. Monidipa Dutta

    Great tips, Giving your children the chance to build these skills to use in a variety of situations may mean changing your perspective on screen time. … Self-regulatory skills are important because they form the foundation of skills that are valuable in school, like sitting calmly and paying attention to a teacher.

  16. What a useful post to today’s day and age! Screen time is something we all need to try to manage!

  17. This is great! im always trying to find ways to lessen the amount of screen time! my son is hooked to the tv and my girls are sometimes hooked to their tablets but recently my husband and i have really made an effort to spend time with them without any electronics.

  18. I hear a lot of people mentioning the amount of screen time children seem to have. I don’t have children, so am unable to speak to this.

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