As young children grow and develop, they need more time in active play, less time sitting and enough sleep each day to be healthy. Time away from screens is time they can be active and build social skills.
After all, our bodies aren’t designed to sit for long periods – we need to move to stay healthy.
Small changes in screen time habits can benefit a child’s physical, social, psychological and cognitive development. Plus, making changes together can help the whole family have healthier screen use, including parents.
Screen time is spending time in front of a:
For healthy development, the Australian government guidelines recommend:
Research from CoLAb shows that too much screen time can affect children’s health and development in many ways.
Establishing positive routines and habits early can make it easier to manage your family’s screen time in the long run. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Start by encouraging no screens at meal times or in the bedroom. Help to reinforce the rules by eating together as a family without screens and restricting screens before bed.
Try setting a timer for 20-30 minutes (give a 5 minute warning before time is up).
Start by replacing just half an hour of screen time with
activities you can do as a family. You could even come up with a reward system for spending less time on screens as a postitive incentive to reduce screen time.
When going out, consider taking toys and books instead of screens.
Demonstrating positive habits yourself can incluence the whole family's relationship to screens.
While screens can be useful for learning and entertainment, they can’t replace the health benefits of being active, like developing social skills and improving sleep. Consider balancing screen time with other activities your family enjoys that promote health and develop new skills, such as:
Find more handy tips to sit less and move more in the video below.
Finding your own balanced and positive ways to use screens can also set good examples for children. Here are some ideas for balancing out your screen time during the day.
Tip: If you want to check how much time you’re spending on your screen, you can monitor your usage in the settings, or consider a timer or app to help reduce your screen time. Learn more about managing adult screen time.
Learn more about healthy screen use for all ages at raisingchildren.net.
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