Screen Time Guidelines for Children of Different Ages

In today’s digital world, it’s become increasingly challenging for parents to monitor and limit their children’s screen time. With smartphones, tablets, computers, and TVs at their fingertips, kids are spending more time in front of screens than ever before. However, experts agree that excessive screen time can have negative impacts on children’s physical, emotional, and cognitive development. That’s why it’s essential for parents to establish screen time guidelines based on their children’s ages

Infants and Toddlers (0-2 years)

For infants and toddlers, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends avoiding all screen time except for video chatting with family members. Instead, parents should focus on interactive play, reading books, and engaging in physical activities with their young children. Screen time at this age can interfere with important early bonding and development milestones.

Preschoolers (3-5 years)

For preschoolers, the AAP recommends limiting screen time to no more than one hour per day of high-quality programming. Parents should choose educational content that is age-appropriate and interactive, rather than passive entertainment. It’s also important to watch programs together with your child and discuss what you‘re watching to enhance comprehension and learning.

School-Aged Children (6-12 years)

For school-aged children, the AAP suggests setting consistent limits on screen time and prioritizing healthy activities such as physical exercise, social interactions, and reading. Screen time should not interfere with homework, sleep, or physical activity. Parents should also encourage their children to use screens for educational purposes and creative expression, rather than mindless scrolling or gaming.

Teenagers (13-18 years)

For teenagers, the AAP recommends enforcing a media use plan that balances screen time with other activities. Parents should discuss the risks associated with excessive screen time, such as cyberbullying, online predators, and sleep disturbances. It’s important to set limits on screen time during meals, family time, and before bedtime to promote healthy habits and relationships

Tips for Managing Screen Time

Establish screen-free zones in the home, such as the bedroom and dining room.

Use parental controls and monitoring apps to limit access to inappropriate content.

Encourage outdoor play, hobbies, and extracurricular activities to reduce screen time.

Model healthy screen habits by limiting your own screen time and engaging in offline activities.

Have open and ongoing conversations with your children about the benefits and risks of screen time.


Screen time guidelines for children of different ages are crucial for promoting healthy development and well-being. By setting limits, providing quality content, and fostering a balanced lifestyle, parents can help their children navigate the digital world responsibly. Remember that moderation is key, and it’s never too late to establish healthy screen time habits in your family.

For more information and resources on managing screen time for children, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website or consult with a pediatrician.