Youth Villages: Summertime and kid’s screen time

By Youth Villages on 7th Jun 2024

Summertime can often mean more screen time for kids of all ages, especially those with working parents. We’re not suggesting that screen time be cut altogether; we’re not crazy. Deliberate screentime with thoughtful activities and supporting resources can be great at preventing the summer slide often associated with younger kids out of school for several months forgetting how to read or add, for example.

For this article’s purposes, we will be discussing screen time as it relates to games, online learning, and streaming shows. Social media is a separate conversation with different concerns.

Kids and screentime

Our kids know about screen time for online learning. Even today’s first graders were exposed to pandemic-era education in preschool. Research over the last several years has suggested that as parents, we focus more on the content our children are seeing on the screens versus the amount of time spent on screens.  Sesame Street, Bluey or other cartoons shown on Disney Junior and Nick Junior can teach your kids basic emotional skills while also teaching math and reasoning skills.

Another thing to consider is how has the rest of their day or week been with screen time. Let’s say they had a soccer game, followed by an active birthday party and your child wants to watch a movie or play games on an iPad. You can feel good about that choice because they’ve also had an active day.

Screen time can also provide shared experiences that your children can use to make new friends at school or the park according to a Parents article. Finding common ground, like a new show or game is similar to how adults chat with coworkers or the nurse at the doctor’s office, a safe small talk topic. As a parent, you can watch shows or movies with them and talk about them afterward or ask your child to show you how to play the game they’ve mastered.

Moderation is key

Under the age of five, your children need help deciding what to eat, what to wear and how to settle for bedtime. Similarly, they still need oversight with screen time, and it’s been suggested that children under the age of five have time limits in their screen time. Common Sense Media provides a family tech planners for children in different age groups to use. Moderation is key, particularly with kids in this younger age group.

Child Mind Institute provides a recommended list of well-being apps to help your children learn to diffuse difficult situations, understand self-calming deep breathing exercises, and even practice yoga.

As with anything, you know your children and what they can handle. Talking to them frequently about watching good content online is setting a good precedent and can help avoid the fight by taking away a tablet or turning off the TV. Some kids may need daily reminders, and some may know when they’ve had enough screen time for the day.

Youth Villages is one of the largest providers of services to children in Tennessee and a national leader in children’s mental and behavioral health. The organization has been recognized by the Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. Learn more at

Crisis services are available 24/7 if your child needs support. Call 855-CRISIS-1 or text CONNECT to 741741. If you have thoughts of suicide, contact 988 to be connected to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.



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