Screen Time vs. Play Time

Summer will soon be here, which means school is almost over! With summer break quickly approaching, we wanted to update parents on the importance of limiting screen time as well as encourage families to stay active.  Below are the most current recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Recommendations for Screen Time:

  • For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they're seeing.
  • For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
  • For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health. 
  • Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
  • Have ongoing communication about online safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.

One of the best ways to keep on track with limiting screen time over the summer break is to develop a Family Media Use Plan.  Follow this link to get started:

Recommendations for Daily Physical Activity:

  • It is recommended that children ages 6 and older have at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day.
  • Active play is the best form of exercise for younger children.
  • The type of exercise should be moderate to vigorous, making them breath harder and sweat.
  • The 60 minutes of exercise does not have to be done at one time, and can be divided into increments, such as 20 minutes.
  • Aerobic exercises are forms of physical activity that strengthen the heart and lungs.
  • Examples of Moderate-Intensity Aerobic Exercises: brisk walking, bicycling, dancing, rollerblading, and hiking.
  • Examples of Vigorous-Intensity Aerobic Exercises: basketball, jumping rope, running, and swimming.

Physical activity in children and adolescents improves strength and endurance, builds healthy bones and lean muscles, develops ​ motor skills and coordination, reduces fat, and promotes emotional well-being (reduces feelings of depression and anxiety). Activities should be appropriate for their age and fun.