The American Academy of Pediatrics is going to come out with new guidelines for screen time/ technology use for children later this year. Currently they recommend ZERO screen time for kids under age two and less than two hours a day of high quality material for older children. (NPR article all about this topic)

Many people surmised that the new guidelines will allow for more leniency in allowing more screen time for kids, but the AAP cautions people to not take this so liberally. The new guidelines will still be conservative and will want paerents to seek other alternatives to screen time.

As a mom, limiting screen time can already be a challenge. My little one isn’t even two years old, but can sing the theme song to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse like nobody’s business. It’s super cute, but is it good for her development? We do not allow much screen time at home, but when we are out and about, sometimes a screen is the best option to keep her occupied and calm while we are waiting at the doctor, a restaurant, you name it.

What I need in my own life is: a replacement behavior (or behaviors) to watching a show or playing on the iPad for my girl. Or maybe a replacement behavior for ME: I need to replace offering screen time with offering other activities.

Ideas for ways to keep my little one engaged without the use of a screen:

  • Playing in her room with the door closed. This is for when I need her out of the way- like when my dog threw up all over the carpet this morning and my daugher wanted to touch it. Her room is child-proofed and has a monitor so I can still supervise her playing with toys while dealing with the lovely mess my giant puppy gave me.
  • Activities in her high chair. Sometimes I need her to be stationary- like when making a meal and have raw chicken hands. In her high chair, she can do play dough, color, do a small puzzle, etc while right there in the kitchen with me.
  • Books. Books are always better than screens. Period. Maybe I should pack more books in her backpack when we are out and about. Maybe I should invest in lighter-weight books. Toting around board books is a little heavy, but I can pack plenty of paperbacks!

She may need to be taught how to do these things independently. That means I need to specifically teach and reinforce replacements to technology time. We can do this!

Do you have good ideas to help limit screen time? Good ideas for alternatives?

More info:
AAP guidelines
Previous post about replacement behaviors
Parenting with Science: Behavior Analysis Saves Mom’s Sanity