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6 Responses to 6 Tips on Managing Screen Time for Tots

  1. Bridget

    I’ve yet to say any conclusive studies that show any kind of negative affect of media on the brain. I have seen studies that indicate that certain types of video games, in fact, can improve sight and coordination involved with driving. But as for negative effects, I hear lots of sociologists, crunchy moms, and old people bemoan the ill effects of it but it is all pure speculation. And most of it seems to come from people who just *don’t like* media for some reason. Because kids are spending “too much” time doing it. Yet they don’t define what “too much” is. They just don’t like it.

    However, studies do show that there is no real benefit, developmentally speaking, media exposure prior to age 2. We also know from cognitive and social research that babies and young children need LOTS of interpersonal interaction and “face time” in order to develop socially and cognitively. Any time spent staring at objects on a screen is going to detract from that.

    • Lauren  

      Your second paragraph is I think exactly what Moorea is trying to say since it’s about screen time “for tots.” She links to several relevant studies in the article, and you could find more here: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_vis=1&q=negative+effects+of+television+children&hl=en&as_sdt=1,48 I agree that there’s a dearth of research on what “too much” screen time is; many studies are of short-term viewings, but some are of TV diaries. However, kids are exposed to so many more screens than just TVs nowadays, and I know my five-year-old tends not to want to look away from screens if he can avoid it. For people like us, I’m glad articles like this can give me some simple guidelines to consider.

      I’m definitely not anti-screen time, nor do I think my own computer use and TV viewing has affected me negatively, with a few exceptions. (For instance, I’m sure I’d be more efficient with no screen time — but also probably sad to miss out on my vegging and the social interaction that comes through the computer especially.) Our family does a lot of screen time for the older members, but we do try to keep it to a minimum when our kids are very little. I’ve been thinking lately that I’d rather have a higher quality of non-screen time in our lives. I know some families don’t feel the need to limit or are satisfied with the limits they already have in place, but I’m going to consider these guidelines as we craft our own.

  2. Karen

    Proof or no proof, common sense tells me that my kids’ time is better spent NOT staring at a TV screen. I admit my kids watch entirely too much TV and I want to change that but it is such an easy way to get a few minutes peace. As much as I don’t practice what I believe, I do know that every hour spent watching tv is an hour spent not living.

  3. Evelyn

    I admit I am what Bridget calls a “crunchy mom” and I tend to see screen time as replacing valuable quality time. I prefer reading books, walking to the park, playing with my kids, or just letting them play on their own for entertainment. I appreciated this article because my kids are exposed to Ipads at Grandma’s and computer games and shows for entertainment almost daily. I think the article addresses how to deal with the conflicts (especially the tantrums that come with turning these things off) very well. There is another good article on WIRED http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/10/infant-tv-guidelines/ which deals with screens and toddlers in a way that might appeal more to screen-loving parents. For me the bottom line is that screen time takes away from normal child development and should be treated cautiously.

  4. Emmy

    My daughter will be two next week, and her screen time varies between 0-100 minutes/day, with the bulk of days falling in the 0-30 minute range. Today, however, she watched more, because she is sick and I wanted to help keep her calm.

    I will also turn the channel from something that she wants to watch to something that I want to see for 20 minutes or so to try to teach her about taking turns. She’s been surprisingly responsive to telling her that if she whines/cries when the tv goes off, we’ll avoid the outbursts by not turning on the tv/tablet in the first place.

  5. Andrea :: Crafting Connections  

    One way we limit screen time is by actually not allowing any TV. I downloaded some old Sesame Street shows and a couple movies (like The Red Balloon). My 3yo is allowed to watch one show during quiet time (since she no longer naps and we don’t have the space for her to spend time alone playing – our kids share a room and the youngest still naps). I like that she ends up watching the same shows again and again – she ends up learning the songs and talking about the different things she’s seen (I’ve seen all the shows as well). It’s not perfect, it’s not no screen time, but it works for us and I feel comfortable with that level of screen time.

    We have also found that audio stories are great for replacing screen time – the original Winnie the Pooh, Juanita the Spanish Lobster (look it up!), Peter and the Wolf, and Sparkle Stories are among our favorites!