Koala Coach

Carry Learning into Daily Life

11/27/16: Sensible Screen Time

Last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics put out new guidelines for screen time. Previously, the AAP had recommended that children over the age of two should not be exposed to more than two hours of any type of screen time per day. Although, to me this sounds like a lot of screen time for a child, it was potentially limiting for children that needed to do homework on laptops or engage in video phone calls with grandparents. Currently, the AAP new guidelines are more specific and more realistic for our technological world. They now identify screen time, as entertainment time spent engaged with screens. This entertainment time is now limited to one hour per day for children aged 2-5. The hour does not include educational activities or family phone calls with screens. If you are looking for more details, CNN put out a very comprehensive list of the complete guidelines for each age group.

What are the koala Coach Guidelines?

I’m glad that the AAP has clarified their guidelines for screen time. Koala coach provides parents with activities that infuse our daily lives with reading, writing and math lessons and also make parenting easier at the same time. Since parents will likely have their phones on them at all times, Koala Coach provides many educational ideas that use smartphones to accomplish our goals. For example, children can practice writing their names, spelling words, letters and numbers on the “Notepad” app. The screen can be turned into a chalkboard and children can use their fingers to practice all skills. This makes spelling word practice a little more enjoyable. Sometimes I set a password for the phone or ipad with a word or a number pattern so that my kids have to learn that “code” to get into the phone or tablet. For example, when my three year old was learning how to spell his name, I made his name the password. When my five year old was learning how to count by 2s, I made the password with 2, 4, 6, 8.

I do think playing on electronic devices can be addicting and unhealthy. I caution parents to limit the time that children are on these devices. It is very easy to establish bad habits with worrisome consequences for learning, attention and behavior.

I try to limit the entertainment screen time for my children to the times when I really need the time to accomplish something without distractions. I try to only allow limited viewing of educational programming or games. I try to never allow violent cartoons or subjects that are inappropriate for children.  I provide clear expectations: I set a timer and explain that at the end of the time the screen will be turned off. If you cry or ask for more screen time, this means there will not be more screen time on another day. Even with these clear guidelines, I often find I don’t enjoy my children’s behavior after they have indulged in screen time. So although the screen time has given me some time to accomplish my own tasks, it actually has made the job of parenting harder after it is turned off.

What are your family guidelines for screen time? Are they working?

2 Comments Posted Leave a comment

Abigail Shrier (Los Angeles)

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