Managing-kids-screen-time-during-COVID

Whether it’s learning, getting entertained, or even catching up with loved ones, today we all find ourselves spending most of our time on our screens. With the current social distancing rules, our online activity has grown that much more!

Are you concerned if your child is spending too much time online? Here are 5 strategies you can take to stop them from getting too addicted!

1. Set a reasonable limit for screen time 

Below is the amount of screen time that is recommended for kids of different ages: 

  • Kids younger than 2 years: Screen time is not recommended 
  • Kids aged 2-5 years old: 1 hour of screen time a day
  • Kids older than 5 years: 2 hours of screen time a day

The time limits above are just guidelines. Every child has different needs, so try to talk to your little one and find a reasonable time limit that works for him/her.

2. Alternate between digital and non-digital activities

Leaving kids to a screen for too long can be harmful to them because they get exposed to constantly changing stimuli. This causes their attention spans to get shorter and over time, this reduces their ability to concentrate and focus. 

This is why it’s important to ensure a good mix of both digital and non-digital activities throughout the day!

3. Choose slower-paced shows

There are plenty of good ways for kids to spend time online. Try to get your little ones to watch slower-paced shows that label objects and speak directly to children. This can help your kids learn new words and sounds!

4. Co-view favourite shows with your kids

Research shows that watching shows with your kids can help them learn new words faster. While watching shows, you may want to direct your child’s attention to specific characters or discuss what is being viewed. This will help reinforce what your little one learns. Ask them engaging and open-ended questions too (e.g. “Why do think he/she is happy?”).

5. Don’t forget to have some family time!

Family time should be screen-free! No matter how many benefits screens can offer, children still need hugs, connection, love, and more from those who love them! So make sure to spend some quality family time with them whenever you can!

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At the end of the day, remember that the rules for screen time may have to be slightly different now that COVID-19 has entered the scene. Remember to give yourself a break if things don’t always go the way you want them to!

References: 

Bischof, J. (2020, March 20). How to manage your kids’ screen time during coronavirus. Quartz. https://qz.com/1819866/how-to-manage-your-kids-screen-time-during-coronavirus/ 

Cross, J. (n.d.). How to Manage Kids’ Screen Time During the COVID-19 Pandemic. NewYork-Presbyterian. https://healthmatters.nyp.org/how-to-manage-kids-screen-time-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/ 

Kulman, R. (2020, May 5). Effective Screen Time Limits During the COVID-19 Quarantine. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/screen-play/202005/effective-screen-time-limits-during-the-covid-19-quarantine

McArthur, B. & Madigan, S. (2020, March 26). 5 Tips for Minimizing Children’s Screen Time During the Pandemic. The National Interest. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/5-tips-minimizing-children%E2%80%99s-screen-time-during-pandemic-138052