Grandparents allow their grandchildren too much screen time, according to a new study. Children who have a good relationship with their grandparents cherish the memories for a lifetime. There is just something special about the time spent at Grandma and Grandpa's. Part of that relates to the custom that grandparents supposedly spoil their grandchildren. According to the research, the stereotype is true, at least when it comes to screen time.
When caring for their grandchildren, grandparents allowed them to spend about half of the time on screens, according to the study. The average duration allowed was two hours, out of four hours of care.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ages 2-5 view no more than one hour of screen time per day. The content viewed should be restricted to high-quality programming.
Grandparents are clearly breaking the rules. The researchers suspect that grandparents want to please their grandchildren, as opposed to discipline or educate them. In other words, true to the stereotype, they view themselves as the fun ones. But there is more at play when it comes to managing screentime.
Being from an older generation, grandparents may feel less confident in putting limits on screentime. This may be especially true when it comes to interactive video games or other types of screen use that they are less familiar with.
Next, many grandparents are older and just need a break! It is so easy to keep the kids busy with a bit of Minecraft that goes on just a little longer than intended.
Truthfully, excessive screen time causes problems. It affects behavior, sleep, and development. A limited amount of high-quality programming is not a problem and even has positive effects. But the study indicates that grandparents are allowing more than what is reasonable.
We encourage parents to create a plan for screen time and clearly communicate it to all caregivers. Writing an hour of screentime into the schedule can help grandparents follow the guidelines.