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Screen Time: how early should children be exposed and how much is too much?

In the digital age, determining the right amount of screen time for young children can be tricky. You want to raise tech-savvy children but also limit potential risks. What’s the right age to introduce screens? How much is too much? Read on for insight and tips on how to manage your little ones’ media use.

Wait Until at Least Age Two

Major health organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, strongly recommend avoiding digital media for children under two years old. According to the American Psychological Association, children under two don’t learn from screens as well as they do from real interactions. Their brains and bodies are still developing quickly and need hands-on exploration and social interaction. Introduce screens closer to age three or four, or when they start pre-K4, as JAMA Pediatrics says screen time for those younger than four can lead to developmental delays.

Set Limits in Pre-K

According to Statista, as of 2022, nearly 32% of four-year-olds were enrolled in a pre-K program. Once your child starts pre-K4, you can begin incorporating limited screen time into their routine. Keep it to high-quality children’s programs and apps, and always try to watch or play together. For this age, aim for no more than an hour a day. Make sure media doesn’t replace sleep, reading, play, and family time.

Be Wary of Educational Claims

Lots of apps and shows claim to be “educational,” but few have proven to truthfully provide learning benefits for preschoolers. The best learning happens through real interactions and exploration of the world. It is important to balance and limit digital play, instead emphasize reading books, playing games, and outdoor time for young children.

Prioritize Physical Activity

Screen time tends to reduce activity levels. Health experts recommend at least three hours of physical activity per day for children ages three to five. Make sure your child gets plenty of running, jumping, dancing, sports, and more. Cut back on screen time that interferes with active play.

Finding the right screen time balance for little ones can be tricky. Hold off until at least age two, then introduce very limited, supervised media time when they start pre-k 4. Always prioritize play, reading books, socializing, and healthy physical activity for young children. With some diligence, you can raise children who benefit from technology without being controlled by it. If you’re looking to enroll your child in a toddler, pre-K2, pre-K3, or pre-K4 program, we have the perfect one for you. Reach out to Key Point Academy Coral Gables today to inquire about enrollment.

We look forward to meeting you and your child soon!