As parents, we are told we need to limit the amount of time that our children spend watching TV. We are told that watching TV can expose our children to inappropriate ideas and images and that if they spend too much time in front of a TV, they are more likely to be overweight. But how do we know how much TV is too much TV?
It can be so hard to limit the amount of screen time our children get because so much of their educational content is now digital. Does homework on their tablet count as just homework, or should it be taken out of their daily screen time allowance?
These questions really can only be answered by a parent, but there are guidelines on how much TV, or screen time, a child should have in one day.
The Guidelines For Screen Time
Every age has a different screen time allowance. Here are the different screen time recommendations for the different ages, to be used as a guide.
Babies and Toddlers – For babies and toddlers up to 18 months old, there should be no screen time, or very limited screen time, with the exception of video calls with friends and family.
Toddlers – Toddlers aged 18 months to 24 months should have a small amount of screen time. A parent or caregiver should be present. This should be no more than an hour a day.
Preschoolers – Preschoolers should have no more than 1 hour of TV each day. This should be educational programming. A parent or caregiver should be present to help them understand what they are watching.
Kids and Teenagers – Children ages from 5 to 18 years should have an overall limit on screen time, including TV, video games, and social media. They should be limited to up to 2 or 3 hours a day. Make sure the media does not restrict their ability to partake in physical activities. It should also not take away from their sleep schedule.
The Downsides Of Too Much TV
It can be so easy to stick your child in front of a television when you need to cook dinner, or to hand them your phone at a restaurant to keep them busy. This is absolutely fine to do once in a while, but don’t make it habit.
There have been studies done, which show that children who watch too much TV are more likely to be overweight, and if they are exposed to inappropriate programs, are more likely to be aggressive.
Watching too much TV can also lead to poor grades, behaviour problems, and even sleep issues.
Encourage your children to break the cycle of watching too much TV. Give them the tools they need to play without any screens. Get them involved in sports, buy some board games, or some craft activities to keep them busy.
So much of our world is now seen through a screen. It is important to ensure your child keeps up with the digital age. However like with everything, it needs to be done in moderation.