I’ve never met a toddler who wasn’t fascinated by phones, tablets, and TV. (The same could probably be said for adults, now that I think of it.) And that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Children’s programming can be tremendously beneficial for kids, and tablet and phone games can be very educational and fun at the same time.
But screen time can get out of hand if left unchecked, and that can have a serious impact on your little one’s sleep. I’ll tell you why, and give you some tips for setting reasonable limits on your child’s iPad and TV time in this week’s video.Rather read than watch? Click here.
There are a lot of people out there who have a television in their bedroom, right? A lot of adults use television to basically lull themselves to sleep, and that’s a whole other topic. I would encourage you to think twice about that, but that’s not what we’re gonna talk about here today.
Today, we’re gonna talk about screen time in children, and why and when I think it is appropriate. So, there is, just today, a new study from the American Academy of Pediatricians that are suggesting that there really should be no handheld device time in children under the age of 18 months. And some of the studies are coming out now to suggest that the more screen time a toddler has, the higher likelihood that they’re going to have a speech delay. So that’s just some food for thought, that you really wanna minimize, if at all, eliminate handheld device screen time in children under the age of 18 months.
Alright. But I am talking today about a little bit older children, the two, three, four, five, and up range. Now, my kids love screen time. I’m not gonna say that I never allow it. They love it, okay? They’re just like every other child. But the rule in our house is that there’s no screen time at least an hour before bed time. And in our house, it’s no screen time after dinner. And we encourage our kids to do other things, like go for a walk, or play a game together, or do something else that’s more family-focused.
But we know that screen time, and especially computer-style screens, so iPads and computers, give off a very strong blue light in the spectrum. And blue light, in particular, is what causes melatonin suppression. So melatonin is that hormone that we need that helps us relax and get sleepy enough for sleep to come, and then for us to stay asleep through the night. So if there’s lots a light glaring into your eyes, it’s gonna minimize, slow down, even suppress the release of melatonin into the system. So then when children finally do crawl into bed, it’s harder for them to relax enough to fall asleep. It takes longer for sleep to come. And they tend to have more fragmented nighttime sleep, meaning that they have more or longer wake-ups throughout the night.
So if your child has a screen in their room, I would really encourage you to either remove it when you tuck them in, make sure it’s powered off, or just completely take the television right out of the room. That’s gonna help them get the nighttime sleep that they need. And as far as, you know, we used to have a rule, too. We still have a rule: no phones in the car, no phones when we’re out for dinner. And I feel like that’s just a really positive way to encourage your children to continue to have conversations with you. I’ve got a 14 year old, so we’re getting to that tricky time where I’m getting one-word answers for a lot of the questions that I ask. But by minimizing some of the screen exposure that they have, by little rules about the car and at dinner, just encourages them to at least think about what they could talk about, have a conversation.
I find, especially at family dinner time, if we go out for dinner, that’s our best conversation time. We put all our phones away. I abide by the rules as well, and we just really start to think about ways in which we can get to know each other, and talk about what’s going on in everyone’s life, and really get some insight into each other as a family, which is really important. So give it a thought! Maybe give a thought to your own screen time, too, before bed. If you minimized it to at least an hour before bed, I promise you, you’re gonna see a big difference in the speed in which you fall asleep and the quality of your nighttime sleep afterwards.
Thanks so much for watching today. Sleep well!
Are you tired of butting heads with your little ones? Looking for a better way of resolving conflict with them? I’ve got just the thing!
Kids:The Manual is filled with simple, step-by-step solutions to the problems that parents face with their children’s behavior. End the frustration for both you and your child, and discover the surprisingly easy path to a conflict-free relationship with your kids!
As parents, one of the biggest concerns during the first few years of a…View Post
Bedtime resistance, night-time wakings, irregular sleep schedules, there’s no shortage of problems that can…View Post
So, listen. I'm not claiming that I was immune to the cuteness of my…View Post