How to establish healthy screen habits at home.

Children are exposed to more screens than ever before, including television, computers, gaming consoles, smartphones and tablets. While these tools may offer benefits for learning and exploration, too much screen time can lead to poor social skills and poor social attachments to parents and peers.

Why should I limit my child's screen time?

Time spent in front of a screen can limit your child’s participation in other activities, such as interacting with family and friends, playing outdoors, creating or reading. Too much screen time also increases your child’s risk of becoming:

  • Overweight
  • Sleep-deprived
  • Less school-ready
  • Inattentive, aggressive and unable to self-soothe

What is the right amount of screen time for my child?

The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends:

  • For children under two years old screen time is not recommended.
  • For children two to five years old limit screen time to less than one hour a day.
  • For children older than five limit screen time to less than two hours a day.

How do I establish healthy screen habits at home?

Try to establish screen time limits and appropriate habits early in childhood, as it will be easier than setting them later when children have established patterns and routines. Ensure that everyone in your family understands and shares the same understanding of acceptable limits and content. Some tips:

  • Be a good role model with your own screen time.
  • Turn off TV during meal times.
  • Turn off background TV when no one is watching.
  • Avoid using screens an hour before bedtime.
  • Choose activities such as playing outdoors, reading or crafting over screens.