Screen Time For Kids: Surprising Guidelines


We limit how much technology our kids use at home.” ~ Steve Jobs

screen time for kidsIn our modern world, it isn’t uncommon to see moms pushing shopping carts around the grocery store while their 2-year old is glued to a phone or iPad. Screens are a part of our life, but how much time should kids have on screens? What is healthy?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under 2 years old should not have screen time at all. Why? Screen time is a static activity for the brain; thus, it doesn’t stimulate brain cells, and this is extremely harmful to this age.

This was shocking news to a mom of a toddler I talked with at a seminar I was recently leading. She said, “But there are so many educational shows out there.” Yes, there sure are. Companies want you to believe that they are good for your children. However, nothing takes the place of human interaction. Screen time for kids is okay when used in moderation.

I get it, though. I am a mom. I put videos on for my children when they were young so that I could cook dinner without distractions. Sometimes, I just wanted a little more quiet time to myself; so, I put in another video leaving them glued to the screen for an hour while I basked in the lack of demands on me. However, screens should never be used as a babysitter. Screen time for kids needs to come with guidelines to enhance their developmental progress.

The table below with guidelines for screen time for kids will surprise many of you. The guidelines were developed by Cris Rowan, pediatric occupational therapist, Dr. Andrew Doan, a neuroscientist, and Dr. Hilarie Cash, Director of reSTART Internet Addiction Recovery Program. Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics contributed to the guidelines in order to ensure healthy futures for all kids.

Technology Use Guidelines for Children and Youth

screen time for kidsNegative Effects of Too Much Screen Time

  • Delayed development

  • Excessive TV and video game time correlates with obesity

  • Decreases attention and memory- in some cases causes Attention Deficit Disorder

  • Addiction

  • Sleep deprivation

  • Aggression

  • Less time for creative play

Okay, now that you know the healthy screen time for kids guidelines and the negative effects of too much screen time, how do you limit screen time?  (See the infographic below.)

screen time for kidsThese days young kids don’t have any place to form an epic adventure. It’s more often in front of the TV screen or laptop. That’s very hard on them. They’re being taught daily unsocial skills.” John Lydon

This quote reminds me of how important it is that we limit our kids’ screen time and let them get outside, live life, and create adventures.

Screen time for kids isn’t bad, but it isn’t good in excessive amounts either. Therefore, be sure to have a family plan to monitor your kids’ screen time following these simple guidelines in order to ensure their best brain development and health.

Photo Sources: 1. 2. 3. Common Sense Media

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Pamela Hall — Wife. Mom. Teacher. Writer. Education & literacy consultant. Lover of God, cappuccino, and chocolate. Leader. Ordinary with an extraordinary desire to make a positive difference in the lives of others, particularly children. Founder/blogger of Literate For Life. ( Connect with her on FB or Twitter.


  1. I often let my child watch television or play games on iPad when I need to get things done. I feel a bit guilty for using the iPad and TV as an unsupervised babysitter. Thanks for the nice write up. This is a good reminder for myself as parents to be more responsible in every aspect of my children’s lives. Keep posting!

    • HerWeightLossDiary,

      I am so glad that this article helped you and inspired you to continue to do what is best for your children. I am a mom; so, I understand what it is like to want to occupy our children with screens, but truly we need to limit the time for their health. Thank you so much for commenting. 🙂

  2. My kids get a good mix of imaginative play, school, outside play and screen time. Neither one of them were interested in watching tv until they were 3. Thanks for sharing on Small Victories Sunday link up.

    • Rachel,
      That is awesome to hear. Balance is crucial to healthy child development. Good job balancing play, outside time, and screen time. 🙂 Thank you for commenting.

  3. Hi Pamela,

    I’m really glad you re-tweeted this. Your tips are spot-on and it’s a great reminder for the summer. The Common Sense Media infographic is always a goodie.

    Keep on empowering parents! Elizabeth


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