Less screen time, more sleep

Ever wonder what’s keeping your kids up at night? When they were younger, it may have been a monster under the bed or a ghost in the closet. But these days, more and more kids are being kept up by something technological, not supernatural. Cellphones, tablets, and other screen devices are changing the way we sleep and how we sleep, and the impact can be even greater for kids.

Guidelines about children and screen time have been around since the 1990s, when screen time referred to time in front of a TV or playing a video game. As the digital world changes around us, the guidelines are starting to catch up. Despite changing guidelines, one thing is certain: the less time kids spend in front of a screen, especially around bed time, the better.

A recent report showed that excessive screen time around bedtime could lead to not only less sleep, but also poor sleep and even daytime drowsiness. Even having a device in the bedroom was shown to increase risk of sleep problems. And as we discussed in an earlier post, sleep is really important for kids’ physical and mental development.

So how do you cut down on your child’s screen time? The first and easiest thing to do is to change your own habits. Limit how much you use your devices and your kids will follow suit. On your next family night, opt for a fun alternative that either exercises your bodies or your brain—like going for a walk or playing a board game! Young children should also not have their own televisions or cell phones in their bedrooms. Check out this great resource for more ideas!

And while we’re on the topic of sleep: don’t forget to change your clocks back one hour THIS Sunday. You’ll get that extra hour of sleep you’ve been wishing for!


Photo courtesy of The Guardian

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