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Balancing screen time

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Screen time means time spent in front of computers, TVs, videogames, smart phones, and iPads/tablets. You can help your children develop healthy habits by monitoring screen time and teaching them to use media safely and wisely.

The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends:

  • NO SCREEN TIME for children under 2 years
  • LESS THAN 1 hour of screen time per day for children between 2 and 4 years old
  • LESS THAN 2 hours of screen time per day for older children

Source: Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Youth - A Guide for Physicians

Learning about how screen time affects children will help you make healthy screen choices for your whole family.

Find a balance

  • Show your children how to lead a balanced life between screen time and other activities.
  • Make screen time active—play during commercials and choose shows that get your family up and moving.
  • Make a list of other activities so your family doesn’t rely on screens for entertainment. Include outdoor activities, playing, and reading in your family’s daily routine.

Keep track of screen time

  • Have a central spot in your home to keep all your devices. This will help keep track of screen time.
  • Make a family TV show schedule together and post it where everyone can see it (e.g. on the fridge).
  • Make sure that you all agree on the plan (e.g. no screens during meals so everyone knows what’s okay to watch and when it’s okay to watch it).

Use screen time to learn

  • Help your child learn by watching and talking about TV shows together.
  • Choose TV shows that:
    • Repeat ideas to help kids learn
    • Pause and ask kids to join in
    • Teach only one message at a time
  • When someone is talking to you, stop looking at the screen and look at the person. Encourage your children to do the same.​​

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