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How much screen time should preschoolers be allowed each day?

Preschooler looks at a tablet on the floor, begging the question how much screen time should your preschooler be allowed each day?

Oh, that delicate dance between a parent’s sanity-saving tool and the fear of nurturing a teeny, tiny tech addict. But how much screen time should your preschoolers be allowed each day? Well, it’s a topic of ongoing debate amongst experts. Some organizations have provided guidelines and recommendations to help parents make informed decisions about how much screen time to allow. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends screen time be limited to one hour per day for children aged two to five years, and specify high-quality programming, preferably watched together with parents to help children understand what they are seeing.

The Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) recommends limiting screen time to no more than one hour per day for children aged two to five, with less being preferred. They recommend avoiding screens altogether for children younger than two years. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) also recommends no more than one hour of screen time per day for children aged two to four, specifying that less time is preferred.

It’s important to note that these recommendations are guidelines, and individual circumstances may vary. Factors such as the quality of the content, the interactive nature of the screen time and the child’s overall daily routine should also be considered. 

Think of screen time like candy. A little treat won’t hurt, but a mountain of it might cause some unwanted side effects.

Parents can help manage their child’s screen time by considering the following:

  • Choosing high-quality, age-appropriate content that is educational and engaging.
  • Co-viewing with your child to enhance learning and understanding.
  • Setting limits and establishing screen-free zones and times, such as during meals and before bedtime.
  • Encouraging alternative activities, such as reading, imaginative play, arts and crafts, and outdoor exploration.

Ultimately, parents should use their judgment and consider their child’s individual needs and developmental stage when determining the appropriate amount of screen time for their preschooler. Regularly reassessing screen time habits and making adjustments as needed can help promote a healthy balance in a child’s overall screen time usage.

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