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Screen Time for Children: How to Limit and Substitute

Screen time for children can be tricky to control. Read on to find out how you can limit and substitute screen time easily and effectively. 

What is Screen Time?

Screen time is the amount of time spent on a device that has a screen. These may be smartphones, tablets, television, laptops, and computers. It is important to make sure you track and limit the exposure of your child to screens every day. Similarly, adults need to limit screen time as well.

Negative Effects of Screen:

When it comes to screens, they can be very entertaining and time-consuming, but, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the time spent on them is productive. Too much screen time has numerous drawbacks in toddlers and children. As children grow, too much of poor quality screen time can lead to several health problems such as:

  • Obesity
  • Poor sleep patterns and quality 
  • Lack of social skills 
  • Aggressive behavior 
  • Less time for actual unstructured play

Unstructured play is the best way for toddlers to pass time and learn about their surroundings. Parents and caregivers need to make educated decisions when handing over a tv remote or tablet to their child. Keep in mind to set a time limit and monitor what your child is watching. 

Quality Screen Time:

Making sure that your child uses screen time in a productive way whilst also keeping track of time is valuable. For example, instead of just watching videos, engaging your child in programming and educational apps is a better option. Remember that these apps still don’t replace normal educational activities outside of screens.

Sit with your child during screen time so you can explain what’s going on. Focus on apps and games that are age-appropriate and require more input than swiping or watching. Use our code DINOBARS_20 for 20% off of a one-year subscription on the Kiddopia app. 

Limit and substitute screen time for children

Limiting and Substituting Screen Time for Children:

Although this may seem like a hard task at first, limiting and substituting screens time with other adventures is important. For children 18 to 24 months old, limit screen time to 1 hour a day, and make sure that it is high-quality and interactive. For children 2-5 years of age, keep quality screen time under 2 hours. 

Make rules about screen time that need to be followed as much as possible. Set an example of using screens by following those rules as a parent. Keep screen-free zones in your house such as the dining table, bathrooms, and bedrooms. Make sure screen time is zero at least one hour before bed.

Preview any content or apps that your child will be using. Use parental controls and ad-free versions. It’s hard for young children to differentiate between ads and actual information. 

When possible, substitute screen time with free play, games, and activities such as reading and role-playing. Most importantly, get your children out of the house and have them play in a more open area. Offer them activities and games like tag, hide and go seek, basketball, and other activities that get them moving and enjoying one on one time with you. You can also work on teaching them how to roller skate, ride a bike, or skateboard.  

Managing screen time will be an ongoing challenge, but developing rules and constantly reinforcing them can make it a little easier. Let us know how you manage screen time in the comments.  Visit and subscribe to our Facebook and Instagram pages to keep up with deals and discounts. Check out our blog section for more parenting-related posts.