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Q:

How can I manage my toddler's screen time?

Hi everyone,

I am a mom of a 2-year-old boy and I am struggling to manage his screen time. With the pandemic, we have been spending a lot more time inside and it seems like the only thing that can keep my son occupied is the tablet. While I know it's not ideal, it's been hard to say no when I need a break or time to get some work done.

However, I want to make sure I am setting appropriate limits for his screen time, as I am aware it can have negative effects on his development. I also want to make sure he is engaging in other activities, such as playing outside or reading.

Does anyone have any tips or strategies for managing a toddler's screen time? I would love to hear from other parents who have gone through the same thing. Thank you in advance for your help!

All Replies

stamm.shea

Hey there,

As a parent of a 5-year-old daughter, we have tried different screen time routines over the years. One of the most successful strategies we have been using is setting boundaries while still making screen time educational.

We limit my daughter's screen time to about an hour and split it into two 30-minute intervals during the day. During this time, she engages in activities that are interactive and educational, such as playing educational games or watching science and history documentaries.

We also make sure we engage with her while she is watching or playing, asking what she learned, summarizing the concepts or ideas, and asking how she could apply them in the real world. This way, we're not just allowing screen time as a distraction but are using it as a tool to promote learning and development.

Other things we do to manage screen time is to restrict weekend usage by allowing one-hour per day only, making the meeting room a tech-free zone, using an app manager to monitor usage throughout the day and setting passwords for certain apps.

Ultimately, managing screen time is a balancing act, and every family needs to find what works best for them. Creating straightforward rules and boundaries around screen time and making sure it's always educational and interactive can go a long way to achieve this.

thad40

Hi there,

As a parent of a 2-year-old son, I completely understand the struggle of managing screen time. Like the others, I have also tried many strategies, but what works best for us is limiting the use of screens altogether.

We decided that no screens, including phone or TV, would be allowed during the weekdays. Instead, we encourage activities, such as coloring, reading books, free play, or even just going for walks outside. We try to make sure these activities are both fun and educational, so my son can still learn and grow in a screen-free environment.

On weekends, we keep screen time limited to about 30 minutes per day, allowing my son to engage in his favorite educational videos or play games on the tablet. We also monitor the content he watches carefully, ensuring it's appropriate and aligning with our family's values.

We've found that sticking to consistent rules around screen time has helped my son adjust and come to expect playtime without screens. On the other hand, we have also found that being more involved in my son's activities when he's playing can decrease the likelihood of screen time requests.

Above all, it's important to recognize that every family is different, and you need to find the balance that works best for you. Remember that taking small steps can lead to significant changes in your children's behavior in the long run.

nkohler

Hello,

As a parent of a 3-year-old daughter, I have had trouble managing screen time too. I have tried many strategies over the past year, and I think the most successful for me was redirecting her attention to other activities.

Whenever my daughter requested screen time, I would offer her a variety of options, including coloring, playing with toys, or spending time outside. I found that if I was enthusiastic and positive about the other activities, my daughter was more likely to forget about screen time and engage with these alternatives.

We use screen time as a reward or a treat for my daughter. For example, if she has exhibited good behavior, she is rewarded with ten to fifteen minutes of screen time. This way, it helps to associate screen time with positive behavior.

Finally, I found that setting a good example is critical. As a parent, it's important to use screens in moderation in front of your children. If my daughter sees me using my phone or watching TV excessively, it will set a wrong example that screens are acceptable all the time.

In conclusion, managing screen time for toddlers can be challenging, but it's important to find a balance that works for your family. With consistent effort, you can help your child develop healthy screen-watching habits that will benefit them in the long run.

gkoss

Hi there,

I can definitely relate to your struggle with managing screen time for toddlers. I have a 3-year-old daughter who loves to play games and watch videos on the tablet.

What has worked for us is setting a daily limit for screen time and enforcing it consistently. We have found that allowing around 30 minutes per day works well for our daughter, but this may vary depending on your child's age and interests.

In addition to setting limits, we try to offer alternative activities that are engaging and fun, such as coloring, playing with blocks, or doing puzzles. When we do allow screen time, we also try to make it interactive by playing educational games or watching videos that promote learning and social skills.

Another strategy we have found useful is involving our daughter in creating the rules around screen time. For example, we will ask her how much time she thinks she should be allowed on the tablet and what activities she wants to do for the rest of the day.

Overall, it's about finding a balance that works for your family and sticking to it. It may take some trial and error, but with consistency and patience, you can help your toddler develop healthy habits and avoid excessive screen time.

syost

Hi all,

As a parent of two young children, aged three and five, I understand the struggle of managing screen time. However, we have found that incentivizing screen-free activities has helped.

We created a reward chart that allows our children to collect stickers every time they engage in screen-free activities. This can range from playing outdoors to drawing, reading books, or even helping with household chores.

Once they collect enough stickers, they can trade them in for a certain amount of screen time, which we limit to 30 minutes a day. We also make sure the content they watch or games they play are educational and interactive. We find the reward system incentivizes them to engage in other activities that aren't reliant on screens.

Another approach we take when it comes to managing screen time is modeling good screen behavior. My husband and I limit our screen time too, especially when we're spending time together with the kids. This not only helps reduce our children's screen time but also fosters the family bond.

Overall, managing screen time for toddlers requires a balance of consistency, positivity, and setting up boundaries. By engaging in screen-free activities and rewarding positive behavior, children can learn to appreciate and enjoy other play activities.

johnpaul.schoen

Hi everyone,

As a parent of a 2-year-old daughter, I can relate to the challenge of managing screen time. However, instead of limiting the use of screens, we have taken a different approach by making it a positive aspect for the child.

We have been using screen time as an opportunity for her to learn herself. We are selective about what she watches or plays on her tablet and select games that promote language, numeracy, and motor skills.

What we also did is set up schedules when it comes to screen time during the day; 10 minutes screen time, 15 minutes reading, 15 minutes craft time, 10 minutes screen time. This helps to break up any monotony screen time can have versus utilizing it continuously.

Also, we spend quality time, playing, and discussing the content with her—helping her to learn and understand the concepts visually. We also find mixing virtual content with real-life co-activities, such as building blocks or cooking, has been successful in reducing screen time.

Overall, it's important to approach screen time carefully and mindfully. By offering positive interactions, quality time, and interactive content, it can be an excellent opportunity for your child to learn and grow, rather than a negative aspect that needs to be banned.

luella58

Hi,

As a parent of a 4-year-old son, I understand how challenging it can be to manage screen time for toddlers. What has helped my family in this regard is setting specific hours during which my son can use the tablet or watch TV.

We try to limit the screen time to up to an hour a day, divided into short intervals throughout the day. For example, we allow my son to watch a 15-minute episode of his favorite cartoon in the morning before breakfast, another 15 minutes after lunch, and one more episode before bedtime.

On the other hand, we encourage outdoor playtime or engaging in other activities like drawing or reading books. When we spend time outside, we take opportunities to direct my son's attention to different things happening around us and answering any questions he might have.

It's also essential to keep in mind that screen time won't work for every child. You might have to try different things before finding the best alternative to reduce screen time.

Above all, it's essential to communicate with your child about the decisions you're making related to screen time. Explain to your child why it's necessary to limit screen time and allow them to have a hand in creating screen-time boundaries.

I hope this helps.

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