Too much screen time?

Too much screen time?


Caitlin on Aug. 25, 2022

Are your under-fives getting maximum screen time? As parents this doesn’t make us a feel great but we do what we got to do to survive.

The good news is we can actually leverage that screen time guilt into useful conversations with your little ones. When it comes to what they watch there are great opportunities to have conversations about different themes, behaviours and actions that are shown. This is where screen time pays off!

A first step is thinking about what your child does watch. Let’s be real, some series or films are more appealing than others. Hot tip: older films and series are a great place to start. Some haven’t aged as well which makes it easier to talk about them.

While you are watching you can start the conversation by asking questions like:

  • Who are your favourite and least favourite characters? Why?
  • Who would be a nice friend?
  • Do you think the movie or show is like real life?
  • Was that nice thing to say to someone?

Talk with them while you’re watching and don’t wait until the end. They may lose interest or forget about certain parts you want to chat about.

By diving a bit deeper into what they are seeing on screen you will be encouraging them to put on their thinking caps and work through some of those hidden messages. Then you can softly challenge their thinking and help them see things like:

  • Love at first sight isn’t realistic.
  • Even though there is no blood, punching someone like that would really hurt.
  • Don’t take food from strangers.

And if you come across something that doesn’t sit quite right for them, make sure to always take them seriously. Even when the content is fictional – the impact can be real.

No matter what your tamariki likes watching there will always be a chance to chat more in depth about what is on screen. Age is not a limitation and these conversations can actually be quite fun.

The reality is screen time is a thing – how else are we going to get that long list of jobs done? Factor in time to watch with your tamariki and enjoy hearing their amazing way of thinking.



Further reading

Watch Together, Talk Together

What We’re Watching Report

Find a rating

Brain development – how it works, why it matters

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