THE RIGHT (AND WRONG) TIMES FOR SCREENS:
There can be no room for screens in the bedroom. Ever. This should apply to any bedroom, but especially a teenagers. The blue/white light emitted from screens can work against the body's own day/night rhythm and can interfere with melatonin production; that's the hormone that helps us be sleepy.
ONE TO TWO HOURS BEFORE
It has been found that children of all ages will fall asleep faster if they haven’t been staring at a screen in the hours prior to bedtime. And also that hours of screen time per day be limited: no more than two hours for ages 13 and under. And less than an hour for ages 5 and under.
PLANNING FOR IT
Suddenly exclaiming to your child, "Ok, that's it, TV off!" can be as shocking as "I just threw your teddy down the trash." Planning with them what they will watch, when and for how long will help ease the transition. As does giving 'countdown' warnings: "10 minutes more", "5 minutes more". Etc.
CONTENT AND STIMULATION
Exciting video games, dramatic or scary television shows, or even stimulating phone conversations can engage the brain and lead to the release of hormones like adrenaline. This can in turn make it more difficult to fall asleep or maintain sleep.
SLEEP BY AGE
The National Sleep Foundations offers these guidelines for sleep by agegroup: Preschoolers should get 11-13 hours, elementary-aged kids should get 10-11, and teens need 8.5 to 9.25 hours daily.
BOOKS VERSUS SCREENS
Removing your child from a screen is easier done with an attractive replacement. Like reading a new book. Or very simple, non-stimulating play. Or listening to an audio book. And making these part of a bedtime routine that becomes a habit and, more often than not, looked forward to.
THE GREATEST BENEFIT
One of the most important reasons for having a strict 'no screens policy' (and fostering good habits around it), will come when you have to explain why your child's new cell phone doesn't belong in their bedroom!