Doctor Recommends THIS Screen Time Alternative to Keep Kids Occupied When You’re Busy With Work

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Playing Doctor Weighs In on Screen Time + Offers an Alternative That's Better for Development

Screen time has been a hot topic in the parenting world for years. Should you allow your child to watch TV or play video games if you’re busy with work? But how much is too much? And what is the impact that digital media has on the development of young children?  

We brought in family physician Dr. Deborah Gilboa, who specializes in empowering parents with knowledge about child development, to weigh in on screen time for children. 

Is it okay to let a preschooler play games and watch things on a screen, while you, as the parent, do work?     

"Even though my kids are now all teens, I remember this struggle so clearly. First of all – you DO have stuff to do, and it is hard to find the right balance," says Dr. G. "Second of all, your kids don't need to be entertained, but they WANT to be." 

So, Dr. G's answer is this:  

"Yes, of course it's okay to let your children play games and watch stuff when you have work you need to do. AND, you can go all 1991 on them and do work without them being entertained on screens all the time," she says.  

If you want your child to entertain themselves without screen time, here are some tips: 

"For this, you need to tolerate some mess and maybe some noise. Playing on their own is an important skill but playing quietly on their own is a pretty tall order for most preschoolers," Dr. G explains.  

"Set some clear location boundaries, have them tell you what activities they might like to do and get the (safe) stuff they need for a couple of them," she adds. 

"You can even set a timer for them for how long they need to figure out their own activities without bothering you. They can only call for you or come get you if someone is in danger, but if you set them up in a safe space, that's unlikely to be an issue," Dr. G explains.   

"Fighting boredom builds creativity, builds tolerance to discomfort and encourages self-regulation. Since you already have those skills, it's time for your child to work on  themselves," she says.  

Dr. G also answered other frequently asked questions about parenting emotionally distant teens, dealing with kids talking back and teaching a child to eat healthier.   

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