Cutting Back on Your Child's Screen Time: Care Instructions

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You are taking a positive step by limiting your child's time on media devices, like TVs, computers, tablets, smartphones, and video games. You have probably already thought about why cutting down on screen time is a good thing. Too much screen time can limit time for physical activity, reading, schoolwork, and talking with family and friends.

You can help your child spend less time on media devices by using some of the suggestions below. Or you may have other ideas about how to do this for your child and family. Many of these ideas also can help parents limit their own screen time. As you start making plans, think of possible problems ahead that will make it difficult to succeed. Having options for these problems will improve your chances for success.

Your doctor can help you and your child. Together you can make these changes work for your family.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

What can you do to help your child?

Move the screens

  • Take the TV, computer, tablet, smartphone, and video games out of your child's bedroom.
  • Try setting up a bin or basket in a public room where devices can be charged overnight.

Set goals

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics has a family media plan you can use at to help you decide on goals. Here are some good goals you can set:
    • For children younger than age 2, avoid screen time. Video chatting is okay if you chat alongside them.
    • For children ages 2 to 5, limit screen time to 1 hour or less a day.
    • For children ages 6 and older, set consistent limits for screen time.
  • When your child watches a show or program, watch it with your child. Talk with your child about what you see.

Focus on family time

  • When you play or read with your child, turn off the TV and other screens. Even a show playing in the background matters. It distracts you and your child from learning the most from the activities you share.
  • At mealtimes, put your media devices aside. Use the time to talk to each other.
  • Make at least one night each week a family night. That means no screens. Play card or board games, read together, or go to an event.
  • Go for a walk or bike ride as a family.
  • Go to the library for a story time or to check out a book.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.