Your simple, research-backed guide to what, when, and how much
We've been on a Ms. Rachel kick lately (Songs for Littles on YouTube). Our 13 month old is obsessed (yes, yes, we're definitely above that no screen time limit for his age, oh well). A quick plug is it's the one show I've found that's really age appropriate before age 2. It's mainly singing and and learning words - and my kid literally SMILES the entire time while watching. It's like a very bare-bones Sesame Street.
Nice to read about the benefits of co-watching. We usually watch with him and encourage singing and dancing along. We continue to use the songs and words outside of the show and have noticed he has learned some with the reinforcement from us.
Thanks for the article - nice to see some research to support that it's not the end of the world to do some screen time.
This is such an amazing summary of a topic that there is a LOT of research on! I agree with the conclusion that it really matters what screen time is replacing for young children and that content really matters!
your writing is really good.
One point of frustration for me is that schools seem to use a lot of screens. With a 5-year-old in kindergarten, she maxes out her screen time at school every day given how much they use technology (and then she gets a show at home when we’re making dinner). The schools don’t seem to factor in these recommendations and this seems to be true for friends with kids in other school districts. Curious to get your thoughts re screens in educational settings.
Ok, RE footnote 1: I think 24 months is when to stop using just months, like, “she is 21 months old.” BUT - I think you can totally say something like “two years and two months” after two, because the months really matter. 2y0m is SO MUCH YOUNGER than 2y11mo. I think we did something like this with my two kiddos (though now can’t remember because the youngest is 5 and WHO KNOWS HOW MANY months), but it probably also really depended on the audience.
Thank you for this!!! Super helpful because the guilt is such a struggle!!
Screen time screen time screen time. Mine is over five but we've been on 20 minutes weekdays AFTER homework. I see myself a Ninja but needs must. You know your kiddo better than anyone so lets feel empowered to keep to those rules we've set. No. Matter. What.
This is super helpful. But what happens to their body/mind/souls when we go over that allotted amount of screen time? Is their future learning impaired? Do they have attentional problems?
We try hard to stick to the limits. When I think back on my childhood, though, there were absolutely NO limits placed on my screen time (Painting with Ross, Saved by the Bell, Nintendo Duck Hunt and Mario). I can remember parts of my body falling asleep from sitting on the couch so long. I also remember viewing things that scarred me for life that were age-inappropriate. But as an adult, I'm pretty good at video games and hand-eye coordination activities--arguably better that my partner, who didn't play video games (I know, n=2). And I don't feel attentionally impaired. Would you be willing to address any positives/negatives that research has uncovered in our children's participation in this aspect of contemporary human culture that is likely not going away, even increasing?
I am well out of the kids-under-5 stage, but I agree with what you present here - and if you are good about setting limits on screen time when your kids are little, you can simply relax those limits little by little as they grow up. (We weren’t great at these limits with my youngest, and so it is still a battle now at age 8.)
P.S. My teenagers would definitely dress up and pretend to be a lobster (or a cat, or a Jedi…) It’s still kind of cute, but not as adorable as when they were toddlers.