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Expert back-to-school screen time tips

by | Sep 4, 2019 | Parenting tips

You might be feeling overwhelmed with the back to school transition, but it doesn’t stop there! On top of long to-do lists, there’s a barrage of information telling us what’s best for our children. At Qustodio we’re parents too, so we know how busy this time of the year can be. That’s why we’ve gathered the best expert advice to make your life a little easier and help get your child on the right track this school year and beyond.

Sleep habit recommendations: 

The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends all kids get adequate sleep on a regular basis. The positive effects of this include:

  • greater attention span
  • better behavior
  • improved learning 
  • increased memory function 
  • controlled emotional regulation
  • higher quality of life
  • noticeably greater mental and physical health. 

Is there anything else I can do to improve these factors for my child?

Yes! The AAP suggests turning off all screens 30 minutes before bedtime and keeping TVs, computers, and other screens out of children’s bedrooms. This is because they give off blue light which mimics daylight and confuses the body’s natural sleep rhythms. In fact, an increasing number of doctors now recommend switching off 1 hour before bed. An easy way to do this is to use parental control software to create windows of time where screens are not allowed, for example from 8pm to 8am.

Physical activity recommendations: 

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least 60 minutes of physical activity for young people. Incorporating physical activity into your child’s daily routine has multiple benefits, including:

  • setting the foundation for a lifetime of fitness
  • promoting good health
  • improved cognitive function, such as thinking and memory skills
  • improved aerobic fitness.

Did you know exercise can have specific benefits depending on your child’s age? Studies have shown that physical activity results in better muscle strength and endurance in children ages 6 to 17, improved bone health and weight status in children ages 3 to 17, and even reduces the risk of depression in children ages 6 to 17. 

Mobile phones at school

Any teacher will tell you, class has never been the same since kids started coming to school with mobile phones. On average, students check their phones in the classroom more than 11 times a day. That can add up to a lot of time spent distracted from schoolwork, not to mention increased rates of cyberbullying, and cheating.

The evidence is clear: banning phones is the way to go. A study published by the London School of Economics traced the impact of banning mobile phones at schools on exam scores. Researchers found that students in schools with phone bans earned higher test scores and that low-performing students benefited the most. Encourage your child’s school to limit mobile phones, at least in the classroom. You can also use parental control software to ensure your child cannot use their mobile phone during school hours. They can still use the phone to make contact during an emergency.

Screen time at home

The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages any media use, except for video chatting, by children younger than 18 to 24 months. For children ages 2 to 5, limit screen time to one hour a day of high-quality programming. For older children and teens it will be a case-by-case basis but we think 1 hour is enough if they’ve been using screens for school already throughout the day. An easy way to limit your child’s screen use is to use parental control software to create windows of time where screens are not allowed. 

In addition, the AAP suggests turning off all screens 30 minutes before bedtime and keeping TVs, computers, and other screens out of children’s bedrooms. This is because they give off blue light which mimics daylight and confuses the body’s natural sleep rhythms. Using parental control software time limits is an easy way to do this so you are consistent and don’t forget.