Managing screen time

For babies and toddlers

We live in a digital world and most children will be exposed to some screen time in their first five years. This could be through TV and DVDs, iPads, computers or electronic games. It could even be through the apps on your mobile phone.

Screen time is not recommended for babies in the first two years of life. While it requires less effort for you, it means your baby loses out on educational and active playtime. Their social skills may also suffer as they can become withdrawn from the world around them, requiring the screen for stimulation.

Sharing books and playing games are better options as they promote a healthy bond between you and your baby and encourage learning.

If you do allow your child to have screen time, it’s important to be diligent about the amount of time spent on devices.

For children over two it is recommended that supervised screen time is kept to one hour a day (not recommended at all for children under two). Always supervise what kind of content your child is accessing – use child-safe sites and apps wherever possible.

For preschoolers

Screens may keep children entertained, but they don’t provide opportunities to make friends, build strength or inspire creative thinking. For preschoolers, supervised screen-time should only be for a maximum of one hour. You should monitor the content on the screen ensuring it is educational and contains no violent elements.

Children spend more time on screens than many parents realise. Take note of the amount of time your child engages with screens and discuss why it’s important to reduce that time. Plan with your child what different activities you can do instead of screen-time.

It’s best not to have TVs in bedrooms and to ensure all screens are out of reach before lights out. Screens should be switched off an hour before bedtime as the blue light disturbs sleep.

It’s important to praise your child when they reduce screen-time voluntarily and encourage more of this behaviour. Remember that children learn from their parents, so be a good role model by reducing your screen-time and your child should too!