How To Reduce Children’s Screen Time?

In today’s digital age, children are exposed to screens from a very early age, be it smartphones, tablets, computers, or televisions. While technology has its benefits, excessive screen time can have adverse effects on a child’s physical and mental well-being. It is crucial for parents and caregivers to actively manage and reduce children’s screen time to promote a healthier lifestyle. This comprehensive guide will explore various strategies and tips on how to effectively limit and balance screen time for children.

The impact of screen time on children

Before diving into practical solutions, it’s essential to understand the potential risks associated with excessive screen time for children. Prolonged exposure to screens has been linked to various issues, including:

Physical Health Concerns:

  • Sedentary Lifestyle: Excessive screen time often leads to a sedentary lifestyle, contributing to obesity and other health problems.
  • Sleep Disruptions: The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the production of melatonin, affecting sleep patterns.

Impact on Mental Health:

  • Increased Anxiety and Depression: Excessive use of social media and online platforms can contribute to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and depression in children.
  • Impaired Social Skills: Spending too much time in front of screens may hinder the development of essential social skills.

Academic Challenges:

  • Reduced Attention Span: Excessive screen time may contribute to a shorter attention span, affecting academic performance.
  • Impaired Learning: Passive screen time can hinder active learning experiences crucial for cognitive development.

5 Tips to reduce children’s screen time

The balance between the use of technology and other activities is key to optimal growth and development in this digital age.

If you are having difficulties in this process with your children, below we show you some practical tips to reduce children’s screen time and promote a more balanced and active lifestyle.

1. Establish clear and consistent boundaries

On the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) website, certain guidelines are established in this regard: up to two years of age, the screen should only be used occasionally under parental supervision; From two to five years old, a maximum of one hour a day is allowed.

Regarding older children and adolescents, the AAP does not specify limits, although it urges that they exist. Without a doubt, setting clear and realistic time limits for the use of electronic devices is essential. Communicate these limits clearly to your children and make sure they understand the reasons behind these restrictions.

Likewise, it is relevant to adapt limits according to the age and individual needs of each child to ensure that screen time is balanced and beneficial.

2. Encourage alternative off-screen activities

Promoting off-screen activities is key to reducing time spent on electronic devices.

Organize outdoor outings, sports activities, family outings, reading, crafts or any other activity that encourages creativity, learning and social interaction without the need for screens.

3. Implement “screen-free time” rules at home

According to this Comparitech post, internationally, people spend an average of 6 hours and 57 minutes using a screen for Internet-related activities.

The majority of this time is consumed through mobile devices, reaching 3 hours and 43 minutes. This encompasses 2 hours and 27 minutes on social media, 1 hour and 33 minutes streaming music, and 55 minutes listening to podcasts.

These figures include all people, regardless of age. That’s why it’s important to set specific times of the day or week when the whole family participates in “screen-free time.”

Remember that children learn by imitation from a very early age, so setting an example in this case (and in all cases) is an essential part of the strategy to reduce children’s screen time.

During this period, turn off all electronic devices and spend quality time on family activities, such as board games, cooking together, or just chatting.

4. Be a role model in the use of digital devices

As we mentioned, children learn by watching adults. Your children will not get the right message if they see that you are hooked on your cell phone most of the time.

Be a role model by showing balanced and responsible use of digital devices. Avoid using your phone or computer excessively in front of your children and instead interact with them and encourage activities that do not require screens.

5. Prepare good conflict and resistance management

Children will likely encounter resistance at first when reducing their screen time. In this sense, it is important to be prepared to deal with complaints and anger.

Explain the reasons behind this limitation and encourage them to actively participate in other activities. Encourage open communication so they can express their concerns and, together, find appropriate solutions.

Not only reduce but also optimize screen time

So far, we have talked about the importance of reducing screen time, but we are actually referring to recreational use. Ultimately, screens and technology can be powerful tools for learning, exploring, and creating.

The secret lies in finding a balance between using it for entertainment, education and off-screen activities.

Screens can offer a world of knowledge and discovery. Accessing information online, learning languages, exploring virtual museums, and participating in coding or other necessary skills courses are just a few ways screens can enrich our lives.

In addition, there are applications and platforms designed specifically to educate and develop important skills, with online classes in mathematics, science, and more.

It is vital that, as parents and educators, we encourage intelligent and educational use of screens.

This involves guiding kids toward valuable content and educational apps, as well as setting appropriate time limits. Thus, we help them understand that screens can be positive tools, as long as they are used consciously and balanced with other essential activities outside the screen.

Recommended Screen Time for Kids

Infants and Toddlers (0-2 years)

  • No screen time is recommended except for video chatting with family.
  • Engage in interactive activities, reading, and outdoor play for development.

Preschoolers (3-5 years)

  • Limit screen time to 1 hour per day of high-quality educational content.
  • Prioritize interactive and co-viewing experiences with parents or caregivers.
  • Encourage physical activity, imaginative play, and social interactions.

School-Aged Children (6-12 years)

  • Limit screen time to 1-2 hours per day for entertainment.
  • Ensure a balance between screen activities and other activities like physical exercise, hobbies, and homework.
  • Monitor content for appropriateness and quality.

Teenagers (13-18 years)

  • Encourage responsible and mindful use of screens.
  • Set reasonable limits and ensure a balance between screen time, academics, socializing, and physical activity.
  • Promote discussions about online safety, healthy boundaries, and responsible digital citizenship.


Reducing children’s screen time requires a proactive and balanced approach that considers both the potential risks and benefits of technology. By setting clear limits, leading by example, and providing alternative activities, parents can create a healthy environment that promotes physical, mental, and social well-being. It’s crucial to stay informed about the latest developments in technology and continuously adapt strategies to ensure a harmonious relationship between children and screens. Ultimately, a thoughtful and consistent approach will contribute to the overall well-rounded development of children in the digital age.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *