Want to start introducing your child to technology but unsure where to begin? These four rules will help you set boundaries for your child’s screen time use. They take into account professional recommendations as well as lessons learned from parents like you!
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Rule 1: Technology Time Limits
Example: “Mary is only allowed two hours of screen time a day.”
You may choose to follow the guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics to adapt those to your family’s lifestyle. The AAP recommends only one hour a day for children between 2 – 5 years. That number isn’t set in stone, however, as more recent research suggests that the exact number of screen time hours really isn’t that important for a child’s health and development. Ultimately, the number of hours is up to you and your family’s unique circumstances.
Rule 2: No-Screen Areas
Example: “Freddy is not allowed to use a device in his bedroom or at the dining room table.”
Make certain areas of your home off-limits for screen time to give your child more opportunities for healthy social interactions with you and other family members. The dinner table, for example, is a great place to encourage conversation rather than heads-down screen time. You’ll also want to consider keeping devices out of the bedroom so you can supervise screen time activities and make sure the device doesn’t get in the way of your child’s sleep.
Rule 3: Kid-Friendly Apps
Example: “Clementine can only use Jellies during her screen time.”
You may want to limit your child to one or two safe kids apps like Jellies. This helps make sure your child is interacting with quality, educational content. Jellies is a great option as it gives parents control over what their children are watching. There are no ads, unboxing videos, child celebrities, or inappropriate behavior in the Jellies app (and our trained reviewers watch every single second to make sure). What’s more, Jellies videos follow school curriculums and developmental benchmarks so you know you’re making the most of your child’s screen time.
Check out our video tutorials to learn how to 1) prevent your child from leaving a safe iPhone app and 2) set parental controls on your iPhone or iPad.
Rule 4: Good Behavior, Only
Example: “Timothy forfeits his screen time if he throws a temper tantrum in the grocery store.”
Some parents use screen time as an opportunity to reinforce good behavior. If you notice your child acting out, consider cutting back or eliminating their screen time entirely. Sometimes unhealthy screen time habits can exacerbate problem behaviors. Pay close attention to your child’s screen habits if you notice them complaining when you tell them to turn off the device or lying about how long they’ve spent on it. You may need to create stricter rules or take a time-out from screen time for a while.
Check out the Jellies blog for more parenting advice like 10 Signs It’s Time to Change Your Child’s Screen Time and Habits. You’ll find quick tips, lists, deep dives, video tutorials, and more on important topics about children and technology. While you’re at it, learn why parents choose Jellies over other kids video apps, and join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.