Small screens can be a big challenge for families

SQUARE EYES: It's important to set limits on your child's screen time so they can enjoy other activities.
SQUARE EYES: It's important to set limits on your child's screen time so they can enjoy other activities.

Screen time can be part of a healthy lifestyle for children when it's balanced with other activities that are good for your child's development, like physical play, reading and socialising. Getting the right balance also includes making sure screen time doesn't interfere with sleep.

The website raisingchildren.net.au offers these tips to help you encourage your child to use screens in a balanced and healthy way.

1. Make rules

You can help your child find the balance between screen use and other activities by working with them on some family rules or a family media plan.

These rules might cover: where and when your child can use screens; how your child can use screens and how then rules apply to different ages.

It's okay if your rules include time limits to help your child balance screen time with other things like physical activity. For example, the Australian physical activity guidelines say school-age children should have at least one hour of activity every day.

2. Aim for short sessions

Getting up and moving around is important for your child's energy levels, development, sleep, and overall health and wellbeing. If your child is having screen time, it's a good idea to encourage them to take a break every 30 minutes and use screens in short bursts.

You can do this by encouraging your child to: use a timer to set breaks; do something active when the timer ends; and make use of natural breaks in screen time.

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