Not all screen time is created equal! Many of us probably grew up watching television or even playing games on the family’s first desktop computer. Although this type of entertainment was fun, it was a passive way of spending time on the screen (cue the couch potatoes). Luckily, technology has evolved over the years to provide screen time for kids that is educational, entertaining, and active!
Unlike the screen time of our youth, advances in technology allow us to play actively and learn together with our children. In fact, we can embrace these moments of shared screen time as opportunities to bond with our children and create meaningful family moments together.
Now that so many schools are including technology in the curriculum, it’s clear that technology and screen time are here to stay. When used thoughtfully, screen time can be really beneficial for kids’ learning development! Enjoying quality, productive screen time with your child is a great opportunity to create family bonding time.
How much time should kids be spending on screens?
Your child is never too young to be on a screen time management plan! Too much screen time can cause issues like sleep disruptions, mood changes, and loss of physical activity outside. It’s best to make rules that fit the needs of your family.
Dr. Barbara Gablehouse, a retired pediatrician on our Board of Education, suggests that families put more focus on ensuring that kids play outside for at least one hour a day. After your child has had enough time playing outside, then they can enjoy their screen time.
Here’s what the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recommends:
- 0 to 18 months: Limit screen time to just video chatting with family and friends. It’s okay to use digital tools with an emphasis on listening to fun songs and stories with children.
- Children between 18 and 24 months: Screen time should be limited to educational programs and shared play time with family members.
- Children ages 2 to 5: They recommend 1 hour per weekday and up to 3 hours per day on the weekends. Their screen time should be a mix of play with a heavy focus on educational and quality content.
- Children 6 and older: Can have more freedom with the amount of time spent on screens. Parents should ensure the content is appropriate and that there are child locks that prevent children from venturing to a site that isn’t safe
Screen time and safety for kids
As parents, we worry about the negative effects of screen time and wonder how much is too much for our children. Technology plays an important role in education today—tablets, laptops, and smartphones are used in classrooms worldwide. Teachers use technology to help students practice skills from math and literacy to critical thinking and kindness.
The most important thing about screen time is that children interact with technology responsibly and in a safe environment. Certain apps like Lingokids, for example, are ad-free, safe, and educational. After all, it’s what’s on the screen that matters, not the screen itself.
Tips to ensure your child’s safety on screens:
- ⏲️ Limit online time: Just like cake or chocolate, the internet can sometimes be too much of a good thing. An excess of screen time for kids means too much sitting down, which could eventually lead to health issues. Children also need time to play outside and interact with friends. Moderation is key!
- 🔒 Create parental controls: You wouldn’t want your child wandering down an alleyway alone at 4 a.m., would you? Approach the internet similarly by setting up safe search controls and blocking certain websites. This way, the internet stays the fun and educational place you want it to be for your kids.
- 💬 Open communication: It’s important to communicate openly and honestly with your kids. Make sure you know where they go and who they talk to on the internet, and explain that they should be just as careful about talking to strangers online as in the real world. Over time, this will create a sense of trust that both parents and children will cherish.
6 tips for creating quality family time through apps
1. Songs and videos: Play songs and videos, try singing karaoke, and dance together. You can also show kids your favorite songs from when you were a child.
2. Play games together: When children play interactive games and share the learning experience with their parents, they develop a better understanding of technology. Plus, parents can model how to solve problems that kids can mimic.
3. Books and audiobooks: Special apps can be a great way for kids to strengthen their reading and listening skills. Listen to a podcast on a road trip or cozy up with one of our digital stories.
4. Expose children to new languages or skills: Apps like Lingokids are the perfect tool for children to learn modern academic and life skills that are important for their future. The best apps for kids make learning new things feel like playing!
5. Extend what they’re learning: Help your children make connections from what they’re learning in the app to what they see in real life. For example, at the grocery store, say something like, “Remember the grocery store game we played this morning? What is this called? That’s right, it’s a banana! What color is it? Is it a fruit or a vegetable?” Asking these types of reinforcing questions will help children strengthen the skills they’re learning in the app.
6. Make mistakes together: When children see you “lose” in a game or do a puzzle wrong, they will see that it’s okay to make mistakes. In fact, they will begin to understand that mistakes are a good thing because they help us learn! It can be empowering for children to see their parents make a mistake in a game and then work to figure out how to solve it.
As parents, we all want what’s best for our kids. Joining kiddos for shared screen time adventures is a great way to connect with them and ensure they have meaningful experiences. It’s not just screen time, it’s family time!
Screen Time and Lingokids 💙
Interested in learning more about quality, active screen time with Lingokids? Download the app and check out the content on our YouTube channels. Let us know how your family manages screen time together by tagging us on social media!