Screen time for babies and toddlers

Current national and international guidelines recommend that children under two years don’t have screen time other than video-chatting.

Very young children learn best from real-world experiences like physical play, playing outside, reading, creative play and social time with family and friends.

Video-chatting is OK because your child is interacting with another person. Video-chatting can support your child’s social and language development. It can also help to create bonds with family and friends.

If you’re thinking about using digital media like apps or TV programs with your baby or toddler, it’s important to use age-appropriate, quality content. It’s also important to balance screen time with other activities like physical play, reading, creative play and social time with family and friends.

Role-modelling healthy screen time habits

Developing healthy screen time habits is an important part of digital media use for children.

Even if your baby or toddler isn’t using screens, he sees how you use screens and learns screen time habits from you. This means you can help your child develop healthy screen habits by using screens in the way you want your child to use them in the future.

Even when your child is very young you can start modelling healthy screen use. For example, you can:

  • switch your phone off during dinner
  • turn the TV off when you’ve finished watching a program
  • balance your screen use with activities like being outdoors, reading and doing physical activity
  • give your child your full attention and avoid checking your phone when you’re playing with her or feeding her.

Exposure to screens

Your family is likely to have a range of screens like televisions, computers, tablets and smartphones. This means that your baby or toddler might see images on these screens, even if he isn’t yet using them himself.

It’s good to be aware of what your child might be seeing. For example, some images on the news or in video games can be quite violent and distressing, even for very young children who might not fully understand what they’re seeing.