Recently, the subject of kid’s screen time has been given a lot of attention. If you wish to have better control over your child’s screen time - whether it's time spent in front of the TV, phone, or tablet – then read on for some useful tips from a professional children’s expert.
- Physiotherapist, Rikke Randrup Skåning, has three useful tips related to children’s screen time:
- You make a good role model when you let the rules for screen time apply to everyone in the family.
- Favour the TV screen (over the phone or tablet), as the TV allows your child more freedom of movement.
- Go for high-quality content that’s low arousal if you wish to give your child a relaxing brain break.
Enjoying a "Break" in Front of the Screen
In many families, screen time has become a regular part of everyday life. But when children sit still and "zoom out" for longer periods in front of a phone or tablet, it’s not necessarily good for their development. Physiotherapist, Rikke Randrup Skåning, has worked with children and young people for over 20 years, and she reports:
"I see a lot of parents handing tablets and phones to their children, especially in situations where the children have become restless and, in the parents' eyes, 'need a quiet break.' But unfortunately, the children won’t be getting much of a break – quite the contrary, their brains will be working hard to process all the new inputs from the screen."
Rikke Randrup Skaaning has three useful tips for parents who wish to create some good habits for their children:
1. Be a Good Role Model
"First and foremost, you should think about why you have screen time. If you feel the screens are robbing you of time to be physically active and present, then decide to switch off the screens and plan some other fun activity instead – read a book, do a puzzle, or whatever you like to do together. As a rule of thumb, small children under the age of 2 shouldn't watch screens at all. They need plenty of good eye contact with their mum and dad instead. With children aged 2 and up, it can be helpful to set some family rules. As a parent, it's your responsibility to lead the way and set a good example," says Rikke Randrup Skaaning and adds:
"If you need to change a bad habit, it can be nice to know that it takes in average 21 days before the new habit is entirely adopted. You may even need to wait until your calendar is free, but better late than never."
2. The TV Screen is Preferred
"Especially when you compare it with phones and tablets, the TV screen is a better type of screen, and for two reasons. Firstly, because our eyes are more comfortable seeing the length from the sofa to the TV. Secondly, because your child is free to move around in front of the TV screen, or remove themselves entirely from the situation, than if they are plugged in with headphones and a tablet resting on their lap," says Rikke Randrup Skaaning.
3. Go for Low Arousal Content
"A final tip is about choosing the right kind of content. If you use the screen as a brain break, see if you can find high-quality content that is low arousal – like a wildlife documentary for kids or one of those slow-going films about tractors working on a farm. Anything with calm voiceovers, natural colours, and long, slow-paced scenes. This will enable your child to enjoy a nice and relaxing break," says Rikke Randrup Skaaning.
Meet our Team of Experts
One expert is an experienced family advisor who has met hundreds of Danish families. Another expert has dedicated his entire life to researching children's well-being and development through play. And some of the other experts specialise in children's motor skills, sensory integration, and learning. Together, they inspire us to provide your children with better sleep, develop them through play, and support them when they study.
At FLEXA Insight, you will find all the experts’ valuable insights, tips, and ideas.