The American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation that parents limit screen time to no more than two hours per day includes television, videos/DVDs, and
video games. If your child currently plays several hours of video games each day, either through a video game console or handheld device, you'll want to put a plan in place to limit video games at home and replace that time with other activities. For example:
- Allow your child to play for a set number of minutes per day. For example, you might decide that twenty minutes per day is sufficient.
- Another alternative is to set two days out of the week as "video game" days. You might choose one weekend day and one weekday and find that the numbers, over the course of the week, even out.
- Bring handheld video games to social events only on special occasions. If the device accompanies every trip to a friend's house and each errand you run during the week, it's likely that your child is racking up quite a few hours of playing time.
- When your children's friends gather at your house, limit the amount of time they play video games. After twenty-thirty minutes of taking turns playing, suggest that the children move on to something else.
- Don't forget to include computer games when you're thinking about how much time your child spends on video games. Even the best educational games shouldn't be played continuously.
- Finally, talk to your child about why you want to reduce his or her screen time.