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Yahoo! Finance: Do I Really Have to Follow That Health Rule?

By Sunny Sea Gold

How many episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic can a preschooler watch before it curdles her brain? What’s the safe upper limit for feeding your kid boxed mac ’n’ cheese?

In moments when you’re asking yourself these kinds of questions, it’s a relief to turn to the guidelines put out by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), whose research-backed recommendations on stuff like screen time and nutrition are truly the closest thing parents have to an official set of “rules” for raising kids. But nearly 80 percent of our Parents Panel of AAP Moms admit they have trouble following at least one of the AAP health rules at home.

Here’s how they push past the struggle and make it work.

Screen Time Rules for Kids

The recommendations: Children under 18 months should have no screen use (other than video chatting); for kids 18 to 24 months, watch together in moderation; for ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to one hour per day of high-quality programming; for ages 6 and up, place consistent limits, and ensure media doesn’t interfere with adequate sleep and physical activity.

Why they’re hard: Screens are absolutely everywhere—in our pockets, in the seat backs of our minivans, and even on the tables and walls at restaurants. Placing limits on screen time is, by far, the rule our pediatrician-mom panelists say they have the most trouble with.

How to stick with them: Set up simple expectations from the start—and then follow through. (The AAP urges parents to create a family media plan that lays out clear rules about when and where screen time happens. Design your own at healthychildren.org/mediauseplan.)

“We don’t try to find substitutes for TV, but instead think of other things we like to do,” says Rupal Gupta, M.D., a pediatrician at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. “When I’m getting ready in the morning or doing chores, my kids love listening to podcasts, like Story Pirates or Wow in the World, or audiobooks. They’ve listened to the Ramona series more times than I can count.” Many of the doctor-moms also credited Legos, books, and an arts-and-crafts station as great solo-play activities to occupy their kids.


Read the full story via Yahoo! Finance

Learn more kids health tips and everyday parenting hacks on our new blog Parent-ish