Kids love watching TV, playing on tablets or stealing Mommy and Daddy’s phone to play some games. As parents we often relish that time because our kids are calm and occupied which in turn gives us some downtime too. It is also tempting to pop on that TV after dinner to occupy one child while we get the other through their bedtime routine and into bed. As useful as technology is for helping our kids learn and grow and keep them occupied when we need some “me” time, we really need to establish some rules around them, especially when we know that this affects the quality of their sleep.
The emission of the blue-white light from tablets and phones can suppress melatonin production. Melatonin is very important as it helps in inducing sleep. Apart from that; watching TV before bedtime or having a TV in the bedroom has been associated with shorter amounts of sleep. Kids who have ready access to technology in their bedroom are more likely to spend time using them then trying to sleep. After all, those fun apps and games on tablets and phones are designed to grab attention and be addictive. And for the older kids, it is fun to message friends or use social media instead of sleep. Sleep can also be delayed due to the excitement produced while playing on phones, tablets or computers.
My suggestion to families is to stop any screen time 1 hour before the designated bedtime. Keep all technology in the kitchen or lounge area so they are not tempting at night. Parents should also lead by example and have the same rules (as hard as that may be!).