How Much Screen Time is Ok for Kids?

With the inundation of technology children of all ages are used to seeing and interacting with nowadays, you might have questions about how much screen time is too much screen time for your child and their developing brain.

The American Association for Pediatrics has outlined recommended screen time per age range.

Infants – 18 mo

Children less than 2yrs of age need to explore their environment through play and interactions with others to learn and develop essential skills. Screen time with interactive apps such as Facetime or Skype is better than media-based applications.

18 mos – 2yrs

Media use during this time should be monitored by an adult to help transfer skills from a two-dimensional screen to a three-dimensional space. Parents should be selecting high-quality, educational media and watching it alongside their child to help them understand what they are seeing.

2 yrs – 5yrs

Screen time is recommended to last less than an hour during this phase of development. Co-watching high-quality media with your child helps them ask questions and apply it to the world around them.


Although screen time in a child’s day can vary, it is recommended that the allotted time limit of screen time stays consistent. Don’t let screen time interrupt their sleep schedule, meal times, or activity times so the child can avoid subsequent health problems.

Some kids can have major difficulties with transitions away from screens. Try setting planned transitional activities such as family game time or a reading time block to help pull them away while minimizing any emotional discomfort. Screen time contracts are available online for kids and parents to discuss, agree to the terms, and sign. This can be useful to hold older kids accountable for their media use. If these strategies are ineffective, a pediatric occupational therapist can help with individualized techniques/strategies and customize a home program to assist with development of coping and transitional skills.

Some pediatricians have recommended no screens before the age of 12 yrs. There are varied opinions in the medical community on the pros and cons of using screens with children. If you have further questions about screen time and the affects it might have on your child, please contact your pediatrician.

For more information about our Pediatric Occupational Therapy program and how we can assist you and your child, call 253-377-6285 or email [email protected]