If you’re in a hurry...
Before 3 years old: no screen !
From 3 to 8 years old: 30 minutes
Over 8 years old: no more than one hour of screen time per day
The idea is to manage your child's exposure to screens without getting into a conflict.
Danger of screens?
- undesirable behaviors
- delays in language development
- difficulties in falling asleep
It's hard to avoid screens: smartphones, game consoles, televisions, tablets, computers... We are confronted with them every day and so are your children. But how much screen time to set by age? What are the impacts of screens on babies/children?
Let's find the right balance together so as not to frustrate your child while preserving his good development.
Screen time for every age
All organizations and associations agree on one point: NO SCREEN TIME BEFORE 3 YEARS OF AGE. And we agree!
Yes, the bright colors of the images attract the eye of your little ones and above all they want to do like mom and dad. As early as 3 months, baby can hold your smartphone in his hands!
Then, we know, as parents, we can be tired and leaving our child in front of the television can be very tempting ... But it is not the most suitable solution!
It is complicated to totally remove them from the life of your toddlers, so, in order not to frustrate them, take into account their age and the time given to other activities (physical or playful without screen) to set a limit.
Serge Tisseron, a psychiatrist and member of the Academy of Technologies, has proposed simple guidelines for introducing screens into children's lives: the 3-6-9-12 rule!
- No television before 3 years old
- No personal game console before 6 years old
- No access to the internet alone before 9 years old
- No social networking before 12 years old
But how much screen time to set then?
- Before 3 years old: we repeat ourselves but 0 if possible!
- From 3 to 8 years old: no more than one hour per day, 30 minutes if possible
- More than 8 years old: no more than one hour per day, going to 45 minutes for example
Obviously, these are theoretical guidelines. Accompany your children in the discovery of screens by proposing them playful contents which favour their reflection. The key is to explain the dangers (of social networks for example) and allow them to have fun in a different way!
What are the impacts of screens on our children?
Yes, the exposure to screens causes undesirable effects on our little ones. The WHO is clear and has published its recommendations for children under 5: no more than one hour!
A less good development of the brain and learning
Children overexposed to screens can suffer from language delay. Combined with a withdrawal of the child, who has few social exchanges, the risk increases.
The loss of concentration is also a noticed effect and without concentration, it is difficult to learn!
Who has never seen a child get angry when mom's or dad's phone is taken away from them or when the television is turned off? Yes, this is a very common situation.
The screens are used to calm the child and finally, although calmed at the time, he starts to cry and/or scream when he stops: not really pleasant, is it?
Difficulties to fall asleep
Before going to sleep, it is not advisable to look at screens: beware of more complicated sleep times! Sleep is very important for a good development, so it is better to favour it.
A possible addiction
Addiction to smartphones, television and video games is a well-known phenomenon, particularly among teenagers, but it can happen at a very young age: withdrawal, isolation and anger are alarming signs.
How to limit the use of screens by our children?
The goal is not to prohibit, otherwise you will create tensions and frustrations which will not help.
Lead by example
We are not going to throw stones at you, we too spend time scrolling on Tiktok (way too much) or watching Netflix.
The idea is not to do it too much in front of your children, you are his models on earth, he will inevitably want to do like you.
Hide (yes) discreetly if you don't want to encourage him.
While babywearing in a baby wrap or a baby carrier, take advantage of the fact that your child is asleep and you can freely browse through your smartphone or watch TV. Carrying your baby in a babycarrier or wrap helps him fall asleep. When he's awake, you'll already be busy enough to meet his needs, phew!
Find more interesting activities
At 6 months old, a baby doesn't care about looking at a screen, his only screen is YOU, your expressions, your mimics and your different interactions. This is essential to his development and to learning social bonds. Babywearing is the perfect way to let your child face you and enjoy all the subtleties of your exchanges.
When they are older, there is no lack of ideas: painting, drawing, outdoor activities, sports...
Physical activity is very important, the WHO recommends 180 minutes of physical activity per day for a child from 1 to 4 years old.
When they are babies, it is only YOU who sets the limits and anchors your baby's habits. Enjoy it!
As they grow, you'll be able to set limits together that they understand.
Allow screens but on a dedicated time. This allows your children to learn to wait and regulate themselves. Avoid the morning before going to school, during meals and before going to sleep.
In summary, what should we do?
- we manage exposure to screens by setting clear rules to implemnent (duration, accompaniment...)
- we take advantage of babywearing to get baby interested in you and his environment
- we adapt the content and the authorized media
- we propose compromises to avoid frustrations
The use of screens is not forbidden but other more pleasant moments can be shared in family :)