1. Doctor recommended screen limits: No screen time for children under 2 years old and 1 hour a day for children between 2-5 years old. For children over 5 years old – limit screen time to 2 hours a day.
2. Tally up the actual time spent on screens: Log that screen time on a screen time chart so that you can see where you need to act.
3. Proven medical benefits: Excellent reasons to turn off that TV, iPad or other screen: reduce obesity, increase regular sleep, limit behavioral problems, and increase academic performance.
4. Establish electronic curfews or blackouts: With younger kids, unplug the power strip and “Oh no, we have a blackout.” With older kids, you may want to try Break time(an app which allows you to put the Internet on hold on any device) or Time Out (a free app which allows you to program breaks on the computer). Or better yet, go tech-free Fridays or any other day that works for you.
5. Ways to limit screen time: Eliminate background TV, don’t eat in front of the TV, set school day rules and weekend rules, and talk with caregivers to ensure that the same rules are being applied. If your children are growing up in two households, ensure that the same rules are being applied in BOTH households.
6. Provide other alternatives to screens: Pick up a book with real pages, suggest outdoor activities, get on the floor and pull out that Monopoly or Chutes and Ladders board.
7. Set a good example yourself: No texting during dinner, no phone in your hand while driving, no smartphone obsessions or selfies every 30 seconds, etc.
8. Be an active participant: Plan what your child views, watch programs or play games with them, and comment on what you’re watching (more interactive).
9. Encourage active screen time: When they are in front of a screen, have them stretch or do yoga. When it’s a commercial or you take a break from the screen, challenge your kids to see who can do the most jumping jacks, hop on one foot, well you get the picture. (Mayo Clinic)
10. Create a family media agreement: Have everyone agree to the do’s and do not’s of media and technology use. Check out A Platform for Good's online safety contracts.
Milovidov, Dr. Elizabeth. "Ways to Manage (and Improve) Your Child’s Screen Time." A Platform for Good. N.p., 22 May 2014. Web. 29 May 2014.
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