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How I found the Right Amount of Screen Time

How I found the Right Amount of Screen Time

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Kaiser Permanente Orange County.

One of the hardest parenting issue lately is handling screen time for the chiclets. We are in whole new tech era where the question of screen time is a constant topic on parents, doctors and caregivers minds. Funny to think our parents never had this issue! My mom and I joke that before she had to yell at me to get inside the house and now I yell at my kids to go play outside. How things have changed. This is why I had to hop on a call with Dr. Lieu at Kaiser Permanente – so she could FINALLY tell me how to do screen time right!

As a millennial Mami,  I have done some research and asked for help from a pediatrician. Dr. Lieu has been a great source of knowledge in regards to the new cucuy, “too much screen time.” We have come up with great tips (which have worked for me too) in partnership with my chiclets’ doctor at Kaiser Permanente.


How I found the Right Amount of Screen Time

Screen Time Based on Age

Under 18 months – Using video conference is a great tool. Apps like Facetime or Skype with grandparents teaches facial expressions.  Educational apps should not be used at this age group.

18-24 months – As a parents you are a media mentor, so watch with them. Show them educational apps about numbers and shapes. Parent and child interaction is key. Limit to one hour.

Ages 2-5 – Brain development is crucial and screen time should only be educational. One hour of screen time is best.

Ages 6 and up – Only about two hours of fun screen time, but in a way that parents are near them. So that they’re supervised. Screen time only in certain areas where the whole family is, not in the bedroom.

Learning with Learn with Homer

I liked how practical and easy these tips are. I know it might seem daunting to limit screen time, specially when it seems our life revolves around our phones. Dr. Lieu knows this and offers better ways of using screen time. I loved the idea of using Facetime as a tool to teach babies about facial expression. There are a plethora of educational apps which are also fun. My chiclets love Math vs. Zombies and their school offers ST Math app. Screen time turned into learning time is always the best.

As a blogging Mami modeling good screen time control is hard. Dr. Lieu also had some tips for parents screen time. Make time to enjoy screen time with kids to model good online behavior. This will make it easier to keep tabs on what they are watching. Nowadays you want to know everything that they’re doing.  Stay off the phone when you’re with them. Making it a point to interact with them and talk to them, phone free. Select a time of day to have a tech-free time. A great free-tech time is one hour before bedtime. This will encourage healthy sleeping habits.

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There’s no one guideline for every family. If you feel that they’re doing great with screen time usage, then keep it up. Using tech as a educational or creative tool is part of our day-to-day now. As the saying goes “todo con moderacion,” everything with moderation. If your kids are getting enough exercise and unstructured play then screen time can increase. Studies have shown that kids who spend a lot of time inside need glasses. There’s also a direct correlation between increased screen time and obesity.  They have also found that too much screen time equals irregular sleep schedules and loss of social skills.

Dad helping son learn how to ride a bike

Lastly do not over stress yourself. I have used screen time plenty of times as a way to get chiclets out of my hair. These are guidelines, but when you’re sick and you need to have the kids doing something, it’s okay. The important take away is for screen time should be used for quality activities and monitored. Be consistent on what you do. Make a plan and stick to it as best you can. Start with a simple tip like tech-free dinners and slowly implement stricter rules. Probably the hardest tip will be for the hubster and I to unplug ourselves from our screens. LOL

And… if you want to double-dip a bit – consider asking your chiclets a chance to “earn” media time. So let’s say you want them to do extra chores? Yup – extra chores = more screen time!!! It’s a win-win. Oh, and all those augmented reality games that are out now? Try to limit those. Dr. Lieu advises not getting the chiclets into those games because they can seam very real, some are scary, and ultimately can disturb their sleep. And ALWAYS check maturity levels on video games.

Visit KP.org for more information on limiting screen time, and alternatives on what to do during that time.

Originally published on February 3, 2018. Last Updated on December 7, 2018 by Pattie Cordova

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