Talk to your kids about these screen time habits

Share this:
Jump to

Kids are constantly seeing people around them using phones, computers, tablets, and TVs. Naturally, they will probably want to experience these devices, too.

That’s why it’s important to guide your kids toward healthy screen habits at an early age. Here are a few screen time-related principles you can talk to your children about at any age.

1. Not all content is equal.

You might be more comfortable with certain types of screen time (e.g., video chatting with Grandpa) than others (like streaming videos for hours). Letting kids know early on some forms of screen time are healthier than others helps to give context to the structure you create at home.

2. Relationships start offline.

Using the internet to keep up with friends is common, but consider explaining to your kids that online interactions are different from those in person. The most important social time happens offline, and that isn’t just true for kids but for everybody! So, teach your kids about a healthy communication style online and that important conversations shouldn’t take place through a screen.

3. Bedtime is for sleeping, not browsing.

Bedtime is when kids recuperate for another day of fun and learning, and when bright screens make their way into a bedtime routine, sleeping can become more difficult or avoided. Explain to your kids that devices don’t belong in bed, on a bedside table, or anywhere near them when it’s time to sleep. 

4. Screen time discussions happen often.

Explain that conversations about screen time will happen frequently and are ongoing. If these are routine topics, your kids won’t feel awkward when they have a question about something they’ve seen or heard about online. In the same way, parents won’t feel uncomfortable having important conversations about screens.

5. Dinner time is family time.

Every family has that sacred time when devices stay in pockets. Maybe it’s during dinner, on a hike outdoors, or cheering for your favorite athletes; either way, these are fun points of connection in a busy family’s schedule. Talk to your kids about what they think those special moments are in your family and why it’s important that family time really is family time.

6. Put the screen away when you’re talking in person.

Perhaps the most important of all is that phones should be set down when having a conversation. In most cases, being present is more important than being “connected.” 


Only you know what the right balance, rules, or guidelines are for your family, but strive to set a strong example, follow the rules you’re setting for them when relevant, and be open, honest, and humble when talking to your kids about device and internet rules. 

One of the most likely ways your children will build screen time habits is by watching you, their parents.

Related tags:
Got a question? Ask an expert here

You ask. We answer!

The online world is full of questions—and we’re here to help answer them. Submit a question here, and we’ll publish it (anonymously), with expert answers, tips, and insights. We'll also email you when your answer is available. While every family is different, your question could be a top concern for other parents. Understanding is a click away.

Ask away!
We've received your question, thank you.

We aim to answer you as quickly as possible, typically within five business days. We’ll also email you a copy of the answer in addition to a link where you can view.

Our responses to your questions are for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it.

Something went wrong while submitting the form.

We’re here to help

Find the resources, community, and conversations you need to raise a safer, more connected generation