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{How We Do} Screen Time - Free Printable

When it comes to "screen time" we have done different things at different times, but like most things in parenting, we have found something that works well for our family.

If you havn't seen or heard, the AAP revised their guidelines for media and screen time last Fall and you can find the updated findings here:

Media and Young Minds Policy Statement 

Media in School Age Children and Adolescents Policy Statement

The gist of their guidelines is that starting at 18  months of age, there CAN be some educational benefits, but families should make a Family Media Plan and talk about it with their children. They suggest :

  • For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they're seeing.
  • For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
  • For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health. 
  • Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
  • Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.
The AAP really emphasizes the importance not just of parental knowledge of what their kids are watching but for parents to interact with their kids and the media they are using.

We consider anything with a screen, screen time. Makes sense, huh? So computers, tv, wii, and tablets are what we have available in our home.

For the record, all of our kids watched Sesame Street and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Thomas the Train before they were 18 months. All of them. And, the Praise Baby DVDs helped me make it through the infant years.  But Kyle and I have always been careful about is content and length of time. We do not even to have our TV shows on during the day when they can see them, even when they were infants. We were never comfortable with the idea that we didn't know what they could remember or might dream about when they slept. 

For where we are right now with an 8, 6,4, and 2 year old, we loosely follow the AAP recommendations for amount of time on a screen with the following prerequisites:

Exceptions we tend to allow:

- Long Road Trips 

- Vacations

- Sick Days

- Other purposeful uses (like school projects or homework, or we sometimes use it on purpose as a distraction tool when we are trying to get Archer to try new foods. He is more likely to try something new as a distracted eater, which won't work in the long term, but helps right now when verbal communication is still growing). 

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