How to Limit Screen Time for Kids

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Besides, limiting screen time for kids is important to ensure their healthy development and prevent excessive exposure to screens. Here are some tips to help parents and caregivers limit screen time for kids:

Establish Clear Rules:

Set clear and consistent rules regarding screen time. Children should know when and for how long they are allowed to use screens each day.

"For school-age children, there should be house rules about when and where the child can have screen time," Dr. Jennifer Cross, a pediatrician specializing in developmental and behavioral pediatrics at NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital and Weill Cornell Medicine, tells Yahoo Life. "Obviously, many children need access to a computer for schoolwork, so rules about time have to take that into account."

Adelle Cadieux, a pediatric psychologist at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich., tells Yahoo Life that it's important for parents to set their own house rules around screen time. "Parents need to identify how much screen time will be allowed, when screen time can be used and what content can be accessed," she says. "Parents need to also consider when screen time needs to end regardless of if their child has used their allotted time. This can help ensure that screen time is not impacting sleep schedule."

Create Screen-Free Zones:

Designate certain areas in your home, such as the dining room or bedrooms, as screen-free zones. This encourages other activities in those areas.

Set Daily Screen Time Limits:

Determine age-appropriate daily screen time limits based on guidelines from organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics. Stick to these limits consistently.

Use Parental Control Software:

Utilize parental control software and features on devices to restrict access to inappropriate content and set time limits on screen use.

Encourage Educational Content:

When screen time is allowed, prioritize educational and age-appropriate content. There are many educational apps, games, and shows available.

Plan Screen-Free Activities:

Organize a variety of screen-free activities that your child enjoys, such as reading, outdoor play, arts and crafts, or board games.

Provide Alternative Entertainment:

Ensure there are plenty of alternative entertainment options available, such as books, puzzles, and toys, to keep kids engaged without screens.

Use Screen Time as a Reward:

Use screen time as a reward for completing chores, homework, or other responsibilities. This can motivate children to manage their time more effectively.

Encourage Physical Activity:

Promote physical activity through sports, outdoor play, and exercise. Limit sedentary screen time, especially for young children.

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Know how much screen media and physical activity your family is getting:

By knowing how much screen time and how much physical activity they get, you will be more aware of how much ENERGY OUT they are burning. Screen time includes TV, DVD, video games, and computer use (not related to school or work). The goal is for them to have no more than 2 hours of screen time a day and get 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each day.

Talk to your family:

Explain to your children that it’s important to sit less and move more so they will stay at a healthy weight, be more energized, have a chance to practice certain skill sets (such as riding a bike or shooting hoops), and socialize with friends and peers. Tell them that you also are going to limit your screen time and increase your physical activity, so you will all be working toward this goal together.

Set limits on screen time:

Set a house rule that your children may have no more than 2 hours a day of screen time. More importantly, enforce the rule once it’s made. You may want to check into devices or Internet programs that set limits on the TV or on the computer.

Minimize the influence of TV in the home:

Do not put a TV or computer in your child’s bedroom. This tends to physically isolate family members and decrease interaction. Also, children who have TVs in their room tend to spend almost 1½ hours more in a typical day watching TV than do their peers without a set in their room.

Make meal time, family time:

Turn off the TV during family meal time. Better yet, remove the TV from the eating area if you have one there. Family meals are a good time to talk to each other. Research has shown that families who eat together tend to eat more nutritious meals than families who eat separately.

Make eating together a priority and schedule in family meals at least two to three times a week. Provide other options and alternatives. Watching TV can become a habit for your child. Provide other alternatives for them to spend their time, such as playing outside, learning a hobby or sport, or spending time with family and friends.

Set a good example:

You need to be a good role model and also limit your screen time to no more than 2 hours per day. If your kids see you following your own rules, then they will be more likely to follow. Instead of watching TV or surfing the Internet, spend time with your family doing something fun and active.

Don’t use TV to reward or punish a child:

Practices like this make TV seem even more important to children.


Remember that the key is to strike a balance between allowing your child to benefit from technology and ensuring that they have a well-rounded childhood with a variety of activities that promote physical, mental, and social development.



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