How to cut back on screen time for kids

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Most kids have been on winter break, and that probably means they’re spending more time on their electronics.

Dr. Noah Schwartz with the Cleveland Clinic says kids should not be scrolling through their phones before bed, because it’s a stimulating activity that can keep them awake.

There are steps parents can take to help cut back on their child’s screen time.

Studies show that too much screen time can affect a child’s health.

Schwartz recommends no screen time at least an hour before bed. He says parents can also set other designated times for when phones aren’t allowed, like during dinner.

Another simple thing parents can do is turn off the TV if no one’s watching it. Schwartz says kids will always think it’s time to watch TV if it’s constantly on as background noise.

Above all, it’s crucial for parents to set an example of healthy screen time use for their children to follow.

“If you’re at the dinner table and you’re scrolling through and you’re looking at stuff, they’re watching you. Kids are sponges, and they’re absorbing their environment, and so they follow what they see,” said Schwartz. “So if in the house, everyone’s on the phone and the TV’s on and things like that, that’s all that they’re going to know. So starting with your own practices, I think, is a great way to begin.”

Schwartz encourages parents to participate in their child’s screen time as much as possible, to make the activity more interactive.

He stresses it’s especially important for parents to watch content with younger children, so they can help explain what’s going on and provide an educational benefit.