Screen time recommendations for young children

How much screen time is appropriate for young children?

Screen time can have negative impacts on young children. To help parents and caregivers set appropriate limits on screen time, the American Academy of Pediatrics has released the following recommendations on screen time exposure for young children.

  • 18 months and younger. Avoid screen time except for video chatting. Video chatting is active and can have the same effect as a baby interacting with someone in the same room.
  • 18-24 months. If you choose to use screen time, keep it limited and choose high quality programming and watch with your kids to help them understand what they see.
  • 2-5 years. Limit to 1 hour of screen time a day of high quality programming and watch with your kids to help them understand what they see.
  • 6 years and older. Set and stick to limits on media—what type of media and when, how and where it is used. Make sure children get enough sleep and physical activity. 
  • Media-free times and spaces. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends designating media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.

Setting limits and boundaries on screen time can help ensure your young child has lots of time and experiences to grow and develop the skills and abilities appropriate for their age. Try creating a Family Media Use Plan, which outlines when, where and how screens are used by each member of your family.

For more articles on child development, academic success, parenting and life skill development, please visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

To learn about the positive impact children and families are experience due to MSU Extension programs, read our 2016 Impact Report. Additional impact reports, highlighting even more ways Michigan 4-H and MSU Extension positively impacted individuals and communities in 2016, can be downloaded from the MSU Extension website.

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