Five-a-day tips for healthier screen time

Birth to 5 years

It’s never too early to begin instilling healthy habits, especially as excessive screen time has been linked to difficulties in concentration, even in very young children.

Get your little ones off to the best start by following these 5 tips:

1. Screen time from birth to 24 months

There should be no screen time for children until they’re 18 to 24 months, except for video chatting. Try to keep your phone out of sight when you’re not FaceTiming with granny.

2. Screen time for 2 to 5 year olds

Children aged 2 to 5 should get 1 hour or less screen time per day. So, rather than just teeing up Peppa Pig on your iPad, encourage them to participate in real-life play which contributes to overall development, including motor skills and talking skills.

3. Bigger screens are better

If you think your child’s ready to play a digital game, opt for a larger screen such as a tablet or computer screen, as these cause less visual stress than a phone.

4. Avoid using a digital device to settle your child

Try to resist the temptation to hand your phone to your toddler if they start to fuss. While this may offer you short-term relief, it inhibits their ability to interact with the environment and people around them.

5. Sleep hygiene

"Sleep hygiene" is a term used for health habits and behaviours to help support a good night's sleep. Under 5's shouldn’t use a screen at least 2 hours before bedtime, to aid their natural sleep pattern. Build a calming bedtime routine which involves snuggling up for stories, rather than sitting in front of the TV.

For more information please read the Nursery World article here.

For information on how to support older children visit the article by Dr Sanjiv Nichani OBE, Consultant Paediatrician, University Hospitals Leicester NHS Trust: SCREEN-DEMIC: The epidemic of mental illness in children and young people secondary to excessive screen time and social media usage (

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