It’s the middle of winter, and we are continuing to navigate a global pandemic, so you might be finding yourself relying more than ever before on digital technology to work, learn, and communicate with family and friends. If you have little kids, you may be relying on their use of screen-time to get things done and take time to take care of yourself. To quote Ms. Shelley from the Oak Park Public Library, “taking care of yourself is key to taking care of your children. Does that mean they watch more TV right now because you’re extra tired and grumpy and need your own break? That’s okay!” It is ok. 

With more and more time on screens becoming a part of our daily life, it’s important to continually evaluate how we consume and use digital content and tools. Parents and caregivers must be mindful of how they engage in digital content with their children. You can start building good habits early on. Your little one is watching when you are using technology at home too. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends:

    • That parents and caregivers of children ages 2 to 5 play and interact with their children when engaging in digital media. This helps children make connections to the world around them and enhance their learning.
    • That families limit screen time to one hour a day for children ages 2 to 5.
    • Less than an hour of screen time and only when an adult is available to co-view, talk, and interact with them for children under 2.

Many parents find these guidelines nearly impossible to adhere to, even in pre-pandemic times. If you find these guidelines unrealistic, you are not alone. Technology plays a huge role in our day-to-day routines and lives. In this Mother Jones article, a working mother of a 2 and 5 year old shared her screen-heavy lockdown schedule, arguing that we should stop worrying about children’s screen time. For many parents, relying on screens is the only way they are able to work while children are at home. 

Even before COVID-19 changed the way we work and learn, the parent and pediatric community was having conversations about what amount of screen time is really reasonable for today’s kids. This podcast from Boston Children’s Hospital’s Digital Wellness Lab asks parents to simply rethink screen time altogether. Instead of focusing on screen time and limits, focus on weaving it into a healthy daily schedule that includes all the other things that kids need: good sleep, healthy meals, movement, play, and non-screen-based social interaction. What it is important to remember is that screen time isn’t bad for children. It is simply time that is not being used for something else; and if screens will be a part of daily life, make sure that the programming is educational and age-appropriate. 

We understand you still might have questions about technology and how-to use it at home. This is the focus of rich conversations around best practices. Get your questions answered at our upcoming parent workshop, hosted in partnership with Oak Park Public Library. Here are the details!

Parent Workshop: Digital Media Tips for Parents and Caregivers

Presented by Eileen Saam and Jenny Jackson from Oak Park Public Library

Tuesday, March 22, 7:30 PM (Zoom)

The workshop will cover:

    • tips + suggestions on vetting digital resources,
    • specific social & emotional digital resources,
    • kindergarten readiness digital resources, and
    • additional digital resources available through the Oak Park Public Library.
    • RSVP

Want to share your family’s screen time routine? We’d love to hear what media your kids love and why! Tag us on social media.

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