Kids and screen time: How much is too much?

[5 min read]

In this article: 

  • Managing kids' screen time can be a challenging issue. 
  • Different age groups have different parameters for healthy amounts of screen time. 
  • Watch this short video to help you make smart decisions for your family's screen time. 

Managing children’s screen time is a common concern for parents. But how much is too much? 

Elizabeth Meade, M.D., pediatric medical director at Providence Swedish (and a mom), shares some key tips: 

  • No Screen Time for Infants: Avoid screen time for children under 18 months, except for video chatting with family members, to protect early development. 
  • Co-Viewing for Young Children: For toddlers and school-aged kids, some screen time is acceptable, but parents should watch content with them. This allows monitoring and creates opportunities for discussion and learning. 
  • Model Healthy Habits: Be mindful of your own screen usage around your children. Set an example by limiting screen time during family interactions. Establish rules like no screens at the dinner table or during family time to promote engagement. 
  • Consider Sleep: Screen time can disrupt sleep, especially for older kids. Ensure screen usage doesn’t interfere with sleep by setting limits before bedtime.
  • Create a Family Media Plan: Develop a family media use plan. Discuss and agree on rules and guidelines that suit everyone’s needs to ensure balanced media use. 

“Following these tips can help manage screen time effectively, promoting healthy development and family connections,” says Dr. Meade. 

Watch this short video for other tips from Dr. Meade that can help guide your approach to screen time for your children. 

Learn more and find a physician or advanced practice clinician (APC)

If you have questions about vaccinations or your child’s wellness health, Swedish Pediatrics can help. If your kids aren’t up to date on immunizations, particularly the measles vaccine, call their pediatrician today to schedule a visit.

You can contact Swedish Primary Care to schedule an appointment with a primary care physician or advanced care clinician. If you or a child has symptoms, you can connect virtually with a member of your care team who can review the symptoms, provide instruction and follow up as needed. With Swedish ExpressCare Virtual you can receive treatment in minutes for common conditions such as colds, flu, urinary tract infections, and more. If you don’t have a doctor, use our provider directory to find a specialist or primary care physician near you.

Information for patients and visitors

Additional resources

Routine mental health talks with kids help make home a stigma-free zone

Providence teams up with Renton public schools to strengthen student access to mental health services 

Measles cases are on the rise. Here's what you should know.

Growing Up Safely: Immunizations + Health | Talk with a Doc Podcast

Youth mental health is focus of Providence and Sounders FC partnership

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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