Dec 092019

Is your kids’ screen time out of control? When we had our firstborn, we were completely against letting our son watch TV. It wasn’t until we discovered Baby First TV that our perspective on screen time began to change.

There were a number of lessons we learned from Baby First TV on controlling a child’s screen time. Although some have changed throughout the years, there is one that stood out: being proactive while watching something with your child.

Growing up, we didn’t have anyone to sit and tell us about the things we saw in the media. As parents, we do our best to explain to our children the importance of communication. Also, we teach our children to ask questions when they don’t understand what’s going on.

Kids screen time is always in the news, but how do you control your child from overdoing it? These parenting tips can help.
Learning to control media consumption among children is important for parents.

How Media Affects Children’s Development

One of the many reasons parents want to control their children’s media consumption is because of their fear of what it’ll do to their development.

Remember, your child is like a sponge. Whatever they see, they will absorb and mimic in their own behavior.

As exciting as it might be for other parents to hear you say your child watches educational TV, there’s more to this statement.

The content your child is exposed to matters. Also, going back to being proactive, you want to focus on the essentials of good content.

What Kids Screen Time Isn’t

In 2018, we had the chance to interview Angela Santomero when she released her book, Preschool Clues (use our Amazon affiliate link if you’d like to snag it). In it, she describes the value in good content: Education, Interaction, and Engagement.

Our children learn through play and re-enact what they see in the media. This is why it’s important for us to sit with them and enjoy the show together — as a family.

When you offer your child a mobile device or tune into a program on TV, screen time isn’t a baby sitter for your child. It’s a time for your little one to explore something new.

It’s easy to fall into the habit of using media to catch a break from the kids. We’ve done this before, and it wasn’t until we sat down and talked about it that we decided to make some changes.

We shared insights on what bedtime used to be for us and tips on how to perfect your bedtime routine here.

Kids screen time can be a positive experience. Here's how you can improve your child's media consumption using these 3 steps.

Key Ways To Limits Kids Screen Time

Understanding how the use of media at a young age can rewarding. It’s our job as parents to teach our children the value in the information that surrounds them.

Here are 3 ways you can limit media use and focus on ways to get the most out of family time:

1. Set up a screen time schedule.

It’s easy to get caught up in everyday life. As working parents, it’s important to make the most out of the time we have with our children. We learned a trick from a fellow blogger and friend to not allow the kids to have any screens before noon. One thing we added was that if they take out a book — workbook or reading book — and complete the activity, we let them watch 30-minutes of their favorite show.

It’s always interesting to see the kids run to grab a book when we remind them about our rule.

2. Repeat TV programs that everyone enjoys.

There’s value in repeatedly watching shows together as a family. Not only does this help with your child’s self-esteem, but it also teaches them something they didn’t see before.

This exact thing happens when you watch a movie for the second or third time. It’s never quite like the first time you watched the film. You will always notice things the second or third time around. Your child is wired to think the same way.

Related: Creating The Perfect Bedtime Routine For Your Child

3. Ask questions after the episode or movie ends.

By asking questions, you’re making kids screen time more interactive. A lot of the complaints with screen time use in children is that the screen doesn’t interact with them.

Although there are games today, such as educational screen toys , there is nothing more rewarding than the sound of a parent/guardian and child interacting.

How much time do you and your family spend using screen time throughout the week?

Fatima Torres

What's life like with three kids and two pups? It's entertaining, that's for sure! MTME breaks down family fun ideas and shares personal insights from a former B2B editor and digital marketer turned mom running a business and a household -- all under one roof. With her husband as her #1 fan, there isn't anything she can't accomplish. Read on to learn how she breathes in fire and exhales success.

Reader Comments

  1. I see it all over: young kids being allowed what I perceive to be unlimited time on their parents’ smartphone or pad. I think this is very important for all parents to think about.

  2. Thank you for your tips. Lately, I became obsessed with the time for screen for my kids, as many times, when we have guests in the house, they just run to watch something, meanwhile we do not have time for them. So, your tips are great!

  3. This is such good information. I need to be more careful about my children’s screen time. I have noticed you are right, it really helps to watch shows together and talk about shows we do watch and discuss them.

  4. My sister in law started early in setting screen times. When her kids were tiny, it was 15 minutes, and now that they are older, it is 60 minutes for enjoyment and two hours for homework, clearly defined.

  5. Amazing tips. My daughter is now a college student, but I spend time with my nephews and when they visit, I try to limit screen time. We do outdoor activities and hang outside.

  6. Great tips to have a firm grip on the right exposure that we really want our children to get. TV is a great medium for balanced growth of the child provided we are selective and make it time bound.

  7. I couldn’t agree with you more! IF and when our kids watch TV or even have an ipad, engagement from us is always included. Our almost three year old has only had an iphone in his hands to play with ONCE! It may be his temperament but we constantly get comments on how well he’s able to self-play and understand and communicate. These tips are super easy for anyone to do and very encouraging. We don’t do any screens including TV Monday-Friday then on the weekends, the kids get to pick how many shows they want to watch. Surprisingly, they rather read or go outside!

  8. great tips. i limit my kids screentime a lot especially the little one. it’s hard somedays but 90% of the time i stick to it.

  9. Screen time is a constant battle in my house. These are some good ideas. My kids are all older but it is still something that I need to look out for.

  10. As much as I appreciate how we have moved on from a technology stand point, I am concerned that kids are obsessed with screens. Cutting down the time they used them is a must. I’m not a mother, but I have nieces and find it hard to understand why a 3 year old has an Ipad. Surely that’s just adding to the problem?

  11. I don’t think kids and toddlers should spend much time in front of the screen. If we really need to let them watch things, they should be only the ones which are really valuable. 🙂

  12. Despite not having children, I have always been interested in childhood education. I was pleased to read this blog post.

  13. This is so true! Kids are like sponges and they tend to absorb the content that they get exposed to so it’s very important to be aware of what they watching, what we expose them to, especially on line!

  14. My boys both have their own devices, but we have parental controls set up on them. They aren’t allowed any before school, and they turn off an hour before bedtime. We allow a bit more on the weekends, but that extra time is limited to learning/educational games.

  15. These are practical tips. My son is 5 years old and we’re trying to control his screen time to a bare minimum. If we can avoid it, we’d rather have him to other interactive/ educational activities.

    Totally agree with you that children learn through play and thus, it’s important we sit with them to make sure we provide the right guidance.

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