Does your kid love their iPad?
Do you secretly love it even more because it gives you just a few moments of peace and serenity?? Or do you feel dad guilt when you leave them to zombie out on the screen?
There are a wide range of opinions on how much screen time should be allowed. Some parents ban screens all together while others don't enforce any rules.
The "right" answer on how much screen time to give your kid is somewhere in the middle. According to the Academy of Pediatrics:
- Babies 0-18 months should get no screen time at all. Since most of their brain develops the first 2 years of life they need to explore their environment and experience sights, sounds, tastes, and textures. They need to interact and play.
- Toddlers 18-24 months can watch a few 5 minute intervals of screen time per day. Do this with them so you can point out what they are looking at.
- By ages 2 and 3 it's ok for kids to watch up to an hour per day. It's recommended that you find them some educational content so that the hour is not wasted.
- By 5 years old the limit can be raised up to 2 hours/day. And that's pretty much it until they move out and make their own decisions!
What the AAP does not take into account is that kids are different! Some children are extremely sensitive and absorb everything, while others are oblivious to what is going on around them. This makes a huge difference on how much screen time a kid can handle!
Our best advice is to use the the AAP recommendations loosely. Give their advice a shot and see how your kid reacts. If they turn into a complete zombie while watching the screen and get emotional about what they saw, limit them. If they barely pay attention to what's happening on the screen and don't seem dependent you can be a little more loose.
Either way, chances are they will turn out ok!