Changing Colors: The Blog of Spectrum Pediatrics

March 15, 2016

How to Teach Your Child about “Screen Time”

By: Jamie Hinchey, MS, CCC-SLP
  • In today’s society, almost every child knows how to work the most complex technology (iPad, iPhone, TV).
  • I hear the question, “How can I limit screen time?” often during my therapy sessions.
  • Although it is a parental choice, one mom shares her story on how she managed to limit screen time AND have a happy child!

child children kid kidsWith the influx of technology within the last few years, almost every child I work with is able to turn on, off, and select specific apps from their device. Whether this is an iPad, iPhone, or other tablet, children learn to rely on these devices in certain situations. When I asked parents for the most common times they give their child a tablet, the responses were very similar. Most parents stated they used them at restaurants, long car rides, traveling on airplanes, or while waiting at a doctor’s office. It is important to limit screen time for child, as we know that children learn best from face to face interaction versus watching people on a screen.

While digging for more information, I came across this article where a mother shares how she was able to limit the screen time and eliminate the behaviors that came with these rules. She decided to clean up the device, set a limit, and talk to her child about WHY this was important. For older children, this is essential because it helps your child feel in control of the situation. The apps were divided into two sections “Junk Food” and “Brain Food.” Here are some ways to make this idea work for your family:

  1. kids kid child childrenDepending on your family environment, you can choose what to label the two different folders.
  2. Have your child help you sort the apps into the different folders to raise awareness of what apps are educational and which ones are more just for fun.
  3. The last important factor is setting a limit each day. In previous blogs, we have discussed using a timer to help with transitions. This would be a great opportunity to incorporate these visual timers into daily routines!

Tablets can be a great opportunity for learning and play, but remember to keep family face-to-face time a priority, too!

Photo 1, Photo 2


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