banner
Family

The easy way to get your toddler to sleep more, according to science

Posted May 4

As a parent, you're familiar with late nights and early mornings. Kids have more energy than a ticking time bomb. If you want to get some extra sleep (and save your sanity), follow this one important tip:

Limit your child’s screen time

Yes, the device keeping your child entertained while you're sneaking to the bathroom is actually costing you precious sleep. Experts recently discovered that children sleep about 16 minutes less for each hour of screen time.

How does screen time affect bedtime?

Experts determined three reasons why electronics throw off your child’s sleep schedule:

  • The device distracts your child, leading to a later bedtime and a shorter night’s sleep.
  • The content in video games or movies makes winding down difficult.
  • The blue-light screen emissions make it harder for your child to fall asleep. The light from the screen tricks the brain into thinking it’s daytime, making their body feel more alert.
Try helping your child wind down at least 30 minutes before bed. Read to them or talk about their day by their bedside. This could help your child get an adequate amount of sleep, (and you as well).

Before you toss your child’s electronics

Don’t confiscate your child’s electronics quite yet. They can be great learning tools. This study found that children exposed to increased touchscreen use achieved motor milestones earlier than children who didn't use electronics. So, restricting your child’s screen time too often could prevent potential benefits.

Recommended screen time for kids

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting electronic use for children based on their age:

  • Avoid screen time for children younger than 18 months with the exception of video-chatting.
  • Join your 18 to 24-month-old child during screen time to help them understand what they’re watching.
  • Limit children ages two to five to one hour of screen time per day.
  • Children who are six and older should follow set rules for how much screen time they are allowed each day.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine how to balance your child’s screen time and other activities. Know the facts and trust your intuition to set the best guidelines for your child.

Shaelynn Miller is a journalist who has a passion for photography, video production and writing.

Contact her at smiller@deseretdigital.com.

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all