Should I worry about extra screen time for my child right now?
While limits are still important, it's understandable that under these stressful circumstances, kids' screen media use will likely increase. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggest some ways to help keep media use positive and helpful.
- Contact teachers about educational activities for children. Preschool teachers may not have an online curriculum to share, but good options include PBS Kids, which is sending out a daily newsletter with show and activity ideas.
- Use social media for good. Check in with your neighbors, friends and loved ones. Since schools are closed, find out if there are ways to help students who need meals or internet access for at-home learning.
- Use media for social connection. Social distancing can be isolating. If your kids are missing their school friends or other family, try video chats or social media to stay in touch.
- Choose quality content and use trusted sources to find it. Common Sense Media, for example, suggests 25 dance games and other active apps, websites, and video games for families hunkering down right now.
- Use media together. This is a great opportunity to monitor what your older children are seeing online and follow what your children are learning. Even watching a family movie together can help everyone relax while you appreciate the storytelling and meaning that movies can bring.
- Take your child (virtually) to work. Working from home? Use this time as a chance to show your kids a part of your world. Encouraging imaginative “work" play may be a way to apply “take your child to work day" without ever leaving home!
- Limits are still important. As always, technology use should not push out time needed for proper sleep, physical activity, reading, or family connection. Discuss limits about how much time kids can play video games online with friends, and where their devices will charge at night.
Remember, staying at home and other social distancing recommendations may feel like an inconvenience, but it's the best way to protect our family, friends and neighbors.