Many parents struggle with how to handle screen time for their family. Thankfully, Anya Kamenetz’s The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life is an evidence-based guide of how to have a happy family life and raise healthy, successful kids in an age of constant (dis)connectedness.
In anticipation of the book’s release, we asked for your best questions, and you certainly delivered! Here, Anya gives us the answers for navigating screen time and family life.
How do you propose limiting screen time for young children when it’s always around? I’m getting a little freaked out that my 6-month-old had started going for our phones already—but it’s not realistic to try to give them a phone-free world. I really want to give him a chance to stay a kid and learn through play, but it’s tough to avoid some kind of screen. —Elizabeth N.
Anya Kamenetz: I am right there with you—my 14-month-old loves to grab my phone. And that is my signal to put the phone away. I have to make a concerted effort to keep the phone out of sight when we are playing together, and to try to focus on her. As a working parent, the time I have with my kids is limited, so this is a priority for me. In the book I talk about cultivating your children’s ability to play independently. When she is absorbed in a toy or activity, that is when I quickly check my phone to text my husband, look at work email or check the weather.