The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding the use of screen media in children younger than 18 months. As they approach 2 years old, it's advised to limit screen use and to always watch television or programming on a tablet with your child.
If you are among the many parents who are trying to manage their children’s screen time, Broward Health Physician Group pediatrician Sultana Alkon, M.D., has a few tips and ideas that can help.
"Screen time should always be purposeful," Alkon said. "If a child needs to use the computer to do some research for school, for example, it makes sense for there to be extended screen time. What needs to be controlled is the use during leisure time, and it should not be used as a way to appease a fussy child."
The trick is finding alternatives to keep kids engaged and entertained. Alkon suggests:
- Keeping a schedule - Prepare a simple, colorful display with activities, including chores. Having a preset schedule will help you avoid using screen time due to lack of ideas.
- Teaching kids a skill - Can you sew, fix a car or prepare delicious recipes? Set some time aside to teach your children. They will gain useful skills and possibly increase coordination and creativity.
- Taking advantage of the local weather - Enjoy outside activities together such as walking, skating and going to the beach. Local listings can provide family-friendly events that fit your budget.
"A simple arts and crafts project," Alkon said, "can provide hours of fun and family memories. These times together can also help foster healthy habits among the family members."
If you need more advice on how to manage screen time for your kids, you can visit Dr. Alkon and Dr. Nolan Berman in their office now located at 2866 E. Oakland Park Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33306. To schedule your appointment, please call 954.462.8323.