In today’s digital world, our children are exposed to electronic devices and screens regularly. At healthAbility we want you to feel confident in your ability to manage your child’s screen time.

There are many recommendations to help parents and carers manage their child’s screen time. The majority are based on age brackets and the potential benefits devices can have when access is managed correctly.

For example, it is recommended that a child aged 0 – 18 months should have little to no interaction with screens. Whereas, children aged 2 and up are slowly able to increase their screen time. If used correctly, technology can have educational and social benefits for children.

At healthAbility, we take a hands-on approach to the question of screen time. Family Support Worker, Joan Lauricella, believes, “It is good to be as involved as possible. The more involved you are in your child’s use of electronic devices, the easier it is for you to manage.”

Below are healthAbility’s top 5 tips on how you can successfully manage your child’s screen time.

1. Model healthy screen time habits
You are the first person your child will look to when trying to understand what ‘normal’ behaviours are. Be mindful if you are constantly on your phone, checking social media, watching YouTube or playing games, your child will want to model these behaviours. This can be confusing if you become angry and frustrated at them for doing the same thing.

2. Be actively involved in their screen time
Being actively involved in your child’s screen time means that you can very easily monitor their activity and ensure the safety of your child online. It also means you have more of an influence on what your child does with their screen time. Guide your child towards quality screen time apps or programs that encourage learning, problem solving, physical activity, social development, new interests and creativity. This can be a great bonding experience too, as you can ask and learn about the different apps and videos that interest your child.

3. Set realistic boundaries
Setting realistic boundaries early lays a foundation of mutual understanding with your child. They will know and understand that their screen time is a privilege and what their limits are. Your child should also know what situations they are able to use devices, when it is inappropriate and what potential consequences for breaking the rules may be. A great way to begin setting boundaries that your child will understand is by giving five-minute warnings when their screen time is almost up. This will allow them to be accountable for their screen time.

4. Encourage alternatives

Ensure that your child has equal access between electronic devices and other activities. Encourage your child to play outside, read a book, do some craft activities or puzzles.

5. Get practical support
It is amazing how a little bit of additional support and guidance can help you feel equipped to successfully manage your child’s screen time. From setting boundaries to implementing a structure in your child’s life – practical support can assist to build the foundations for healthy screen time habits.

At healthAbility our Family Support services can help provide practical tips for you and your family to assist implement and manage your child’s screen time. Contact us today on 9430 9100 to find out more about how we can help.