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A Guide to Screen Time for Children

kids screen time

It’s nearly impossible to raise children these days without exposing them to screens. Between the tv, the smart phone and the computer, screens make up a big part of our lives. But when it comes to growing little brains, how much screen time is healthy?

At Scribbles childcare centres in Mt Roskill, Mt Wellington and Onehunga, screen time is kept to a minimum, but what about life at home? Our daycare teachers did a little research to walk you through the global guidelines around screen time and children.

Under Two’s

The official recommendation for children under two is zero hours of screen time. That’s right – none! And our childcare teachers can see why: the little ones in our babies’ room learn so much each and every day from doing.

Computers, phones and TV’s are distractions for our littlest pre-schoolers who learn best through tactile experiences, hands-on activities and putting things in their mouths!

An Important Exception

Even experts bend the rules when screens are used to keep family members in the loop. If you’re in Auckland but have family members on the other side of the country – or world – most childcare centre teachers agree that a little screen time is worthwhile to build that valuable family bond.

Older Children

For kids over two, up to an hour a day of screen time is okay, with an emphasis on quality educational shows and apps. Older kids still need plenty of fresh air and hands-on learning, so do make sure to limit their time on the screen.

What’s the Problem with Screen Time?

With pre-schoolers, so much learning is going on in the real world, not digitally. They’re still learning coordination and balance, improving their motor skills and building their cognitive abilities. Meanwhile, mimicking parents, peers and day care teachers is so important to develop their communication skills.

Overuse is also linked to childhood obesity, difficulty with sleep and behavioural challenges.

Getting the Balance Just Right

As everything from news to work to social interactions can take place on those little devices, limiting screen time with children can be easier said than done. If you need some help, try these tips:

• Set a timer and take away the device when it goes off
• Limit screen time to educational programmes
• Try a kid-friendly podcast instead
• Watch your own use – kids mimic what they see!
• Try a board games night
• Head outdoors – one of the best ways to get kids away from screens
• Try a family ‘screen free’ day once a week (or month)

But most of all, don’t beat yourself up! And remember, while it may be hard to put down the phone at home, rest assured that your pre-schoolers are getting their fair share of screen-free time at our three Scribbles day care centres in Mt Roskill, Mt Wellington and Onehunga.

  • Being new to Auckland, we were nervous about finding a childcare centre for our son. We could not be more pleased with Scribbles Mount Wellington, it has fantastic facilities and it is so convenient being close to Sylvia Park for last minute shopping. Could not recommend Scribbles more highly.
    Kim Andrew
  • All the teachers rock! We can't thank you enough for  everything you do for our kids - they all absolutely adore you.
    Jack Close
  • The Scribbles team feel like family to us we always feel welcomed when we come in. If any help is needed please do not hesitate to ask... we are always happy to help if we can. Keep up the great work.
    Michelle Bright
  • I love all of the lovely staff at Scribbles, they really do feel like a happy family down there. And I love that they make my little girl feel like part of it. She loves it and at the end of the day that's all that matters. Thank you so much for everything.
    Dave Burke
  • My son has been at Scribbles since November 2015 and I am very happy with the service we get. The teachers are very nurturing/caring and that's what I ask for my baby. His career is fantastic, lovely and kind and he just loves seeing her each morning. Nellie runs a great ship and staff seem to be happy in what they do.
    Suzanne Manihera
We invite you to come into our Scribbles Childcare Centres in Auckland and have a look for yourself. See our wonderful early childhood education environment and speak to the team.