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Reducing screen time

Reducing screen time

There’s a lot of talk about screen time at the moment, and there’s no doubt screens are part of family life now, from schooling, to staying connected and for entertainment.

Every home has their own rules and habits around screens. What’s important is that they don’t prevent us from getting the family physically active during the day. So deciding to swap online games for an offline activity as a family is a great way to get everyone active.

Here are some general guides around screen time outside of education and schooling:

  • Try to avoid screen completely for under 2s
  • Keep screen time for 2-5 year olds to 1 hour each day
  • For children over 5, have clear limits and a good guide is no more than two hours each day.
  • Screens include all devices with a screen such as TVs, computers, smart phones, laptops, tablets and game consoles

How to reduce your family's screen time

If you would like to reduce your family's screen time, or find it hard to set limits, here's some advice from our parenting experts.

  • Figure out how much screen time is usual for your family. 
  • Set a goal. Start small, you can build on this over time. 
  • Revisit your goals if they prove too much.
  • Set limits. Explain to your family and friends what these are. 
  • Swap screen time for the games you played when you were a kid.
  • Remove screens from your children’s rooms.
  • Make mealtimes screen free.
  • Watch TV or screen content with children so that they can learn while interacting with you.
  • With older children, talk to them about the risks of screen time and what is acceptable and unacceptable.
  • Lead by example. Children learn from the adults in their life.

Watch: Why bedrooms should be screen-free zones


Are screens in kid's bedrooms a problem - what parents say 

More information

For more information on how to manage your family's screen time, the HSE has produced some leaflets which you can download below.


Download the leaflet for primary age children | Download the leaflet for children aged 0-5



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