How to Manage Your Kids’ Screen Time

Amanda gets asked all the time “How much screen time is healthy for kids?” If you use the following as a rough guide for age appropriate screen time you won’t be going far wrong, says Amanda.

3-7-year-olds – half an hour to an hour a day

7-12-year-olds – 1 hour a day

12-15-year-olds – 1 and a half hours a day

16+ 2 hours a day

Amanda shares her top tips on managing screen time and usage with My Nametags’ newsletter readers.

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Once you’ve established and agreed with your child how much screen time they are allowed, try and stick to it.  Children are creatures of habit and love a routine. Parents and children love the TimeTokens Promise Contract for that very reason! Let them choose when to use their tokens e.g. 30 minutes after school or weekends only. “I’ve been using TimeTokens with Harry (now 9) for 2.5 years – it’s just part of our routine and so simple we don’t even think about it,” says Amanda. 

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If your child keeps to the rules, reward them.  No arguments and no complaining deserves a treat, right?  “TimeTokens uses a Golden Ticket which works really well as a carrot to keep them on track.  If they stick to the Promise Contract they get to trade in the Golden Ticket at the weekend for a well-earned treat … but not more screentime!” Described as a ‘Genius Idea’ by Kirstie Allsopp. Find out more at TimeTokens.

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Do talk to your child about internet safety. Get free and practical advice about keeping your kids safe online at Internet Matters. By keeping devices in a family space you can easily monitor what your child is viewing, says Amanda. Do talk to your child about what they like playing during their screen time usage. “Find out what their favourite app is? What do their friends play/look at?” as this way you will be tuned into what they are doing on their screens.

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There is no natural stopping device for children today, with access to 24 hours non-stop entertainment.  “Try to create your own stopping device. It will make your life easier, you then lay the ground rules with your child,” says Amanda. Try to make sure your child takes regular breaks in their screentime sessions and keeps a good posture.

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Avoid using screens during mealtimes as this should be time to chat about your day. Children’s brains need time to switch off so turn screens off at least 60 minutes before bedtime and keep bedrooms as screen-free zones.

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And finally, children model their behaviour on what they see around them so be mindful about your own digital habits – like checking your phone at the dinner table!

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