How much screen time should I allow my child?

by Natalie
Mums Off Duty, Screen Time

Technology is a blessing and a curse; it has both pros and cons and sparks the debate of “how much screen time is too much?”, especially when it comes to our kids. I constantly grapple with this question as Ethan loves screen time and would be on them constantly if he had his own way!

Of course, their digital devices give them instant access to brilliant educational tools and can provide hours of entertainment. I know that when Ethan is playing happily on his iPad, I have time to get dinner ready or clean the house, which is really helpful.

However, too much technology can affect their development in other areas because it can prevent them from getting enough exercise and face-to-face social interaction which is of course so important.

I have teamed up with an independent school in London who offers the following advice to parents, to help determine a sensible approach to the amount of screen time we allow our children.

Find a good balance

Mums Off Duty, Screen Time

Helping your children find an appropriate balance with screen time is of the utmost importance. Be sure to regulate not only the amount of screen time your child is exposed to but also what it is they’re actually doing on their devices.

Research has actually proven that too much screen time can impact a child’s physical, psychological and social development. Excessive time sat in front of a screen could be used in a more positive way, such as playing sport, reading, crafting or even socialising.

With this in mind, it’s crucial for parents to set some rules that ensure their children are taking part in activities away from their devices.

While it may be impractical and unnecessary to completely ban your children from using electronic devices – and let’s face it, tech is very much a part of our lives these days – aiming to keep them busy with other activities, after-school clubs and free play is an ideal way to reduce their exposure.

Establish rules around screen time

Try incorporating a ‘no phones at mealtimes’ policy. You could also introduce the idea of an hour of disconnected family time each evening where screens are put away and you do some other activity together, such as a board game – or even, shock horror, just talk!

Experts also advise that screen time should be restricted around bedtime to ensure that sleep quality is not adversely impacted.

For more advice and information, don’t be afraid to contact your child’s teachers as they will be able to offer additional tips on how to keep your children entertained in other ways.

Share your thoughts

How much screen time do you allow your child? Ethan has around an hour a day on his iPad but I have friends who don’t allow their kids any screen time during the week. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Mill Hill School.

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