A new study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics found a direct association between screen time at ages 2 and 3 and development at 3 and 5. In fact, another recent study found that only 5% of U.S. children meet the recommended daily guidelines for sleep, exercise, and screen time use. How can we fix the problem?
Vinay Saranga M.D. is a child psychiatrist and founder of Saranga Comprehensive Psychiatry.
His advice for parents:
- Exercise daily: Children should have at least one hour of moderate exercise per day. Lack of physical activity in children is just one of the reasons obesity is an epidemic in America. Make exercise a family event by going on a walk or playing outdoors. Encourage your children to get involved with sports and activities. Take them to the local playground for a fun, free way to stay active.
- Encourage alternatives: To cutout screen time, encourage your children to engage in other activities such as reading, board games, drawing, playing with appropriate age toys and good old-fashioned playtime with a sibling or friend.
- Make meal time family time: Many families keep the television on during dinner. Try turning it off and encourage conversation. Use the time to connect with your children, find out about their day, how school is going, who their friends are, etc. This will also help strengthen the bond between parents and their kids.
- Be a role model: If you want your kids to reduce their screen time then you must model this behavior as well. Children, especially younger ones, follow the example set by their parents. If you want your kids to spend less time with their electronics, then you must do the same.