How much screen time should my kid have? That’s a question I hear often and I know my type-b response probably drives people up the wall… “That’s something that you need to determine for each child. Do what you feel is best.”
How Much Screen Time?
Just like most everything with parenting, each child will have a different set of answers to this question and every other parenting question. EVERY child is different, therefore how much screen time your child should have will vary per kid.
I VERY much go by the style of parenting that we all need to do whatever is best for our kids and, I will be happy to tell you what I do, but what works for me, may not work for you – so finding out what’s best for YOU is what’s best for your family.
Our 12-year-old girl – she is allowed screen time after her homework is after school, though truth be told 75% of her homework is done online.
She has an iPhone and a computer. Most of her leisure time is spent socializing on the computer – mostly Instagram, Facetime or texting with friends.
We shut the screens down around 8, about an hour and a half before she goes to bed. We stick to our guns with our no screens in the bedroom rule.
What Doctors Say About Screen Time Limits for Kids
Here are the latest guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics in regards to setting screen time limits for kids:
Boundaries and balance are important so that kids get sleep, play and time with their family. Whether that screen time duration goal is 2-3 hours/day on weekends or at Grandma’s house, and ~1 hour/day at home is up to your family to figure out and will vary based on what’s going on in your life.
But the most important ingredients for young kids’ well-being are:
- That the content is high-quality (in other words, worth their time and attention, not just trying to sell them things or have them zone out),
- That they have opportunities to laugh, play, read, and move during the day, and
- That they have caregivers who are trying to help them understand themselves and manage their emotions.
Sleep and Screen Time
Something we don’t take into account that the AAP has recently issued a statement on is how screen time effects our kids’ sleep.
Read the advice of the AAP on sleep and screen time.
How We Limit Screen Time With Our Kids
Our 10-year-old boy – no screen time until all homework is done. Then he can play for an hour on the computer. His computer usage is all games now, no social.
Our 5-year-old boy – he has after-care at school, which he gets 30 minutes of computer time during. Once he gets home around 6:00pm, he can watch TV or play on the iPad – but typically we are too busy with dinner and reading his beginner reader books to watch more than an hour.
Our 4-year-old boy – he is in child care all day. During the day, he was 20 minutes of computer time. When he gets home, he can watch TV or play on the iPad – but like our 5-year-old – our evenings are so busy he doesn’t get much screen time during the week.
On the weekends we are pretty liberal with letting the kids play on computers, iPads, watch TV. There does come a time where we know enough is enough. And to be honest, our lives are pretty busy. We are always on the go, so any screens they are using are mobile like their phones or iPads.
That’s a glimpse at how much screen time we give our kids. How about you? How much screen time do your kids get?
Read more on Screen Time