Sneak peek: We hear a lot about screen time recommendations for kids but what are they are each age group and why do they matter? Plus how can we make screen time work with the rest of our child’s needs like sleep and physical activity?
Screen time recommendations for kids are a hot topic for parents. Parents face ridicule, guilt and pressure from family members (or others) all related to the role that screen time plays in their child’s development. Let’s face it–there are many demands on our time and our children’s time. For us, it’s work, chores, and daily care of our kids. For our children, it’s school, playtime, sports, and screen time all vying for their attention.
With all these competing demands, it’s difficult to manage sleep, movement and screen time guidelines for our kids. The screen time chart based on guidelines from the World Health Organization helps parents get a full picture of how all these guidelines fit together. As parents know, how children spend their time sleeping, moving, and using screens are all related. A tired kid is more likely to gravitate toward a screen than go outside to play. Similarly, an active child is more likely to sleep better.
Finally, an organization has combined all the guidelines together into one comprehensive guide for parents. The screen time recommendations chart offers recommendations for what healthy screen usage looks like for a child under the age of 5.
Personally, I was excited to see such a comprehensive guide. Before this, all the guidelines were separate and not related to one another. Now, with one look, parents can see how all the screen time recommendations for kids fit in along with guidelines for sleep and physical activity.
How a Screen Time Chart Helps Parents
This type of guide is not meant to make parents feel guilty. Rather, it’s an effort to better understand the needs of our kids. Yes, each child is unique. Your child might do well with slightly more or less of each of these activities, but overall, the guidelines are based on what we know about optimal development in children.
Most of us instinctively know when our kids get too little sleep just based on their grumpy behavior. The same might be true with activity level as well. When our kids get “cabin fever” after being stuck in the house too long without enough activity, we can usually see the results in their behavior.
These are simply good guidelines to keep in mind. There are always days when plans go array. Sure, when you are traveling perhaps your child gets extra screen time and less sleep. Maybe there’s a day when everyone in the house is sick and nothing goes as planned. That’s all to be expected.
To help make these guidelines easy to use and top of mind, I’ve created a printable screen time chart. You can post this on your fridge just as a reminder. It might even help the kids to see it too!
Sign up for the printable chart below:
More resources for limiting screen time and keeping kids active: