Monitor your child’s screen time closely to make sure they stay within the limits.

Question: My child is glued to his screen and there's nothing I can do to stop it. Help!

How much screen time is healthy for children?

A child aged between two and five should have no more than an hour of screen time a day. This applies to all screens, whether they are TV screens, computer screens, or smartphone/tablet screens.

Why do we need to limit screen time for children?

While there are educational benefits of using technology, too much screen time can lead to eye strain and other health problems.

How do we limit screen time for children?

Establish some ground rules on the use of screen time in the family (and stick to them!) so that your child does not get glued to the screen for too long. Here are a few tips to limit screen time for your child.

#1 Set Rules on Screen Time

This is the very first thing a parent needs to do before handing over the TV remote or any electronic device with a screen to your child. Your child should know how much screen time he’s allowed when it is allowed, and where it is allowed.

For example, if your child is three years old, he can only have, at most, one hour of screen time per day. You could let him spend 30 minutes watching TV in the morning and then another 30 minutes in the afternoon on the iPad.

Set screen time rules for older kids at home, too. If they are old enough, explain to them that too much screen time for kids leads to health problems.

Once you’ve set these rules and explained them to your kid, make sure they’re enforced consistently. It might be tempting to give in to your child’s tears and pleas to play games for another ten minutes, but you’ll find yourself losing in the war against screen time each time you give in.

If you have grandparents or a foreign domestic worker looking after your child, make sure that they’re aware of the rules as well, and enlist their help in enforcing the rules strictly.

Related: 9 Health Hazards of Electronic Devices for Kids

#2 Use Parental Controls to Limit Screen Time


Use technology to your advantage.

These days, many devices come with parental-control settings which helps parents monitor and control the amount of screen time their child is exposed to. Your child will no longer be able to use the electronic device once the allocated time limit you’ve set for him is used up.

Related: Healthy Eyes, Clear Vision

#3 Offer Alternative Activities

A child needs at least three hours of physical activity in a day. Kids love to play, so encourage your child to go outside and play. The best way to get your child to turn away from the screen willingly is to offer an equally fun, exciting activity.

Bring your child out for a walk in the park or organise a picnic at the beach. Introduce your child to games you used to play as a kid such as hopscotch or marbles. If it’s in the middle of the day when the sun is too hot to be outside, try playing classic board games like Monopoly or Clue, or read a book to your child.

You can also bring your child out on playdates with other children so that he gets to learn how to make friends and interact with others. Let them know that there is a lot of fun in other activities, and not just in front of a screen.

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.


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References

  • Irene Maher. (2016, Aug 22). Kids Addicted to Screens? Here's How to Unplug Them. Financial Review. Retrieved November 2018 from https://www.afr.com/technology/kids-addicted-to-screens-heres-how-to-unplug-them-20160821-gqxuth