Kids & Company Blog

Wired Child: Screen Time Guidelines

Everywhere you look there are infants and young children playing with tablets, phones and electronics. No doubt these faithful electronics occupy the minds of our wee ones (often when we need them distracted the most!). But have you ever stopped to wonder how all this screen time impacts their health, sight and sleep?

According to research, infants under 18 months are the most vulnerable to screens and shouldn’t be exposed to any sort of digital media. For children 2-5 years old, time spent in front of a screen should be limited to one hour per day. This can be super difficult in a 24/7 connected world where we get our news from television and Twitter instead of a newspaper, where we read e-readers instead of cracking open the spine of a novel and landlines have become all but obsolete.

For children, too much screen time can lead to over stimulation, distraction and behavioural issues. But that’s not to say you should eliminate it completely (if you even could!).

Not all screen time is created equal. Time spent FaceTiming or Skyping Grandma, or powering up the family computer to assist with an older child’s homework shouldn’t be discounted. For us it’s all about balance. Screens are not babysitters and should not replace social or physical activities that are SO important for development. But if you have to pick one time of day to avoid screens, we at WeeSleep vote at bedtime.

Many parents will let their kids watch a show, play a game or read bedtime stories from a tablet before bed. Any WeeSleep consultant will tell you, this is a dangerous practice that threatens quality sleep.

The bluish light the screen emits mimics daylight which “convinces” the brain to some degree, that it is still daytime. Blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, the brain chemical that helps us fall asleep. Light that is more orange or red in tone does not suppress melatonin production, because our brain recognizes it as a cue the day is ending. Who knows, we may soon welcome bedtime friendly screens that have soothing tones designed to aid sleep, but that day is not today.

So before getting hooked on electronics, think long and hard about using screens after dinner, and especially before bedtime. Avoid having a “wired child” and put their sleep first.

WeeSleep has been helping exhausted families around the globe since 2011. Based on the tried and true gentle, loving and guided strategies, we will break down and analyze a child’s sleep challenges and develop a completely customized and easy-to-follow sleep plan that will have your child sleeping through the night (10-12 hours straight) in under 2 weeks. We work from newborn to 8 years old! The WeeSleep approach when working with families is very “real”. The team is professional, compassionate and devoted AND we are all real moms who understand the struggles you are experiencing. It is most rewarding to be able to coach infants, toddlers, and their families to sleep well! Sign up for a FREE 15-minute sleep consultation today!

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