Screen Time

Regardless of content, too much screen time is not healthy for children. Children who watch more than 1.5 hours of television per day have a greater chance of being overweight and too much screen time in the early years establishes a negative pattern for life. Screen time affects the number of words children
know by Grade One and children understand and use fewer and fewer words for every hour of non-interactive screen time they watch. Parents should swap screen time for physical activity whenever possible. Most children would rather be outside playing than in the house if parents provide plenty of opportunities for them to do so.

The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends:

  • NO screen time for children under two
  • Ages 2-6 should have no more than 1 hour per day of combined TV, computer, DVD, video games. Be mindful of what your children watch, when and how much
  • KNOW what your child is watching
  • SELECT videos or programs without commercials
  • WATCH with your child as often as possible
  • TALK to your child about what he/she watching to determine what he/she understands
  • EXPLAIN to children that advertising is trying to make you like and buy something and what they say might not always be true. TEACH them to be critical of media messages. Children under the age of five have difficulty separating advertising from content and children under eleven have a hard time understanding the persuasive intent of ads. Children will imitate what they watch if that behaviour is seen to be rewarded – be it desirable or not. Set some simple rules
  • NO screens during meals
  • NO TV just before bed and NO screens in child’s bedroom
  • ELIMINATE snacking in front of TV
  • Do not use screens as reward or punishment – gives them too much importance
    Unplug & Play Create opportunities for you and your child to be active together as well as enjoying more quiet pursuits away from screens:
  • Play games, listen to music, go for walks and explore new places, and nature; arrange play dates with other families
  • Create time at home for your child to interact withyou and other family members
  • Have a reading time everyday – regardless of child’s age

Be a Role Model

  • Let your child learn from you how to balance activity and screen time
  • Set limits for both of you – limit the time you spend on the phone, computer, TV and other devices
  • Reduced screen time leads to : better learning, more physical activity, improved nutrition, healthier weights and more developed social skills.