Creating a Healthy Relationship for Your Child with Screen Time

Hello January 2024, after the Holiday’s we get back into our regular day to day routine of school and work. We have had a mild Winter so far, but we are merely in the thick of it, and with the fridged temperatures lately we’re indoors more often.

As a mother of a four-year-old, during the Winter Season, I’m finding myself turning on more screen time than in the Summer. I know when the weather drops anywhere below -15 we spend very minimal time outside. And when we’re indoors we inevitably put on a movie, spending an hour with screen time. Instead of avoiding screens, which I know is almost impossible today, we’ve taught our child boundaries and how to have a healthy relationship with screen time and would like to share them with you.

  1. We limit how much she can watch; she has an hour in total a day. That usually looks like one show in the morning, that’s about 15 minutes long and yoga/ballet/learning videos in the evening if she wants. If she doesn’t ask, we don’t put anything on.
  2. We don’t allow TV to be playing on as “white noise.”
  3. Creating a routine around screen time, what this looks like to us is that when she wakes up in the morning she uses the bathroom, brushes her teeth, brushes her hair, gets changed, has breakfast, and THEN she may watch her show. When she doesn’t follow through with the routine then we don’t allow her the screen time. This is where we establish boundaries.
  4. Develop a family media plan together. We have screen-free time for dinner, and we’ve created this plan with her and discussed that we would rather talk to each other during dinner than to be distracted by something on the TV. Dinner is a sacred time for families to bond.
  5. Opt for quality screen time. Whenever possible, exposing her to quality screen time that encourages her to engage with others, problem solve, be creative, exercise or practice self-care.

It’s a work in progress but if you continuously work on promoting healthy digital habits the outcome will only be beneficial.

For information regarding the potential benefits and risks of screen media in children younger than 5 years, with focus on developmental, psychosocial, and physical health. Please click on the link below.

https://cps.ca/en/documents/position/screen-time-and-preschool-children

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