Tips to Manage and Reduce Screen Time for Children

Living in today's digital world, the ubiquity of screens and gadgets is unavoidable. Individuals of all ages rely on screens for communication and daily tasks. However, excessive screen time, particularly for children, can have detrimental effects. Studies suggest that prolonged screen exposure can lead to behavioral issues, such as a lack of focus, and contribute to health problems, including obesity.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends specific screen time limits:

  • No screen time for children under 2
  • One hour per day for children aged 2 to 12
  • Two hours per day for teenagers and adults

For teenagers, research indicates a correlation between excessive screen time and negative outcomes such as anxiety, depression, and reduced attention span.

To mitigate the risks associated with too much screen time, consider implementing the following tips for both children and families in general:

  1. Open Communication with Your Family: Explain to your children the downsides of excessive screen time from an early age. Demonstrate alternative activities, such as playing board games, solving puzzles, coloring, painting, or developing new skills like riding a bike. For toddlers, model "pretend play" with toys, engaging in activities like running a restaurant or playing teacher and student. Older kids can explore outdoor activities or construct items, such as building with Lego.
  2. Lead by Example: Parents should serve as positive role models by limiting their own screen time. Children often emulate their parents' behavior more than their words.
  3. Establish Screen Time Limits: Enforce a household rule limiting screen time to a maximum of two hours per day. Consistency is key in maintaining these limits.
  4. Transform Mealtime into Family Time: Turn off the TV during family meals to foster connection. Prohibit the use of phones during this time. Research indicates that families who share meals tend to consume more nutritious food, making prioritizing family mealtime crucial.
  5. Avoid Using Screen Time as a Reward or Punishment: To foster a healthy relationship with screens, refrain from using screen time as a reward for good behavior. This practice can lead children to perceive screens as a "reward" for compliance, potentially reinforcing undesirable habits.

By implementing these strategies, parents can actively contribute to reducing screen time and promoting a healthier, more balanced lifestyle for their children and the entire family.


  1. National Health Institute (NIH). National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Tips to reduce screen time.
  2. Mayo Clinic Health System. 6 Tips to reduce children’s screen time.