Screen Time: How Much is Too Much?
As parents, we all wonder how much screen time our kiddos should be getting. Are they getting too much? Not enough? Kidstrong Director of Research and Studio Director, Kristie Abt, PhD, talks about balancing screen time with activity, and what happens if kids are spending too much time in front of a screen.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has set guidelines for screen time based on age:
0-18 months: no screen time
18-24 months: add in slowly, but try to limit as much as possible
2-5 years: less than 1 hour/day
5 years and up: less than 2 hours/day
When a child is in front of a screen for too long, we are inadvertently planting the seeds for poor lifelong choices and unhealthy behaviors. What are some examples of these behaviors?
A Sedentary Lifestyle. When kids are in front of a screen, they are not moving. It is essential for kids to be active and get the recommended amount of movement each day. Seek to replace screen time with more activity, whether it’s physical activity or a family game.
Poor eating habits. Mindless eating coupled with unhealthy food choices paves the road for children to struggle with issues such as obesity, heart problems, etc.
Poor focus. When a child has too much screen time, it is harder for them to pay attention and stay on task on activities outside of screen time.
In life we can enjoy almost anything in moderation. The truth is, screen time is unavoidable. The solution is not to take it away completely, or try to avoid it all together, but rather, be mindful of the number of minutes your child is in front of a screen. The best thing we can for our children in this situation is to find a healthy balance. And, try to make healthy screen choices that incorporate movement and activity, like Brain + Body Workouts from KidStrong University.