Ways to limit small screen time

Printable version

Swaps for small screens

For younger children:

  • drawing: crayons, pencils or textas and paper
  • picture books
  • push or pull toys like cars or trains
  • small toys that children can make up games with like animal figurines
  • small balls that have different feels or sounds e.g. spikey, soft or a bell inside
  • container of building blocks or duplo
  • games like ‘I-spy’ or counting games

For older children:

  • small puzzles
  • books
  • sticker or activity books
  • colouring in books or mindfulness drawing books
  • Lego
  • plasticine

Create a special ‘outings’ bag that has toys or activities just for playing with when out and about.

How are small screens used?

Sometimes small screens like mobile or smart phones, tablets and handheld DVD players or games
are used as a distraction or ‘babysitter’ for children, for example, when the family goes out for a
meal or when in waiting rooms.

Too much screen time is not healthy or good for children’s development. There are plenty of other quiet activities that are better for children.

What is screen time?

Watching screens and playing games using screens. For example:

  • TV and DVDs
  • playing computer, electronic or video style games
  • smart phones and tablets.

How much is too much?

National guidelines recommend:

  • children under the age of 2 years should have no screen time
  • children aged between 2-5 years should have no more than one hour of screen time each day.
  • children aged between 5-12 years should spend no longer than two hours each day using screens for entertainment. This doesn’t include homework.