Maryland EXCELS Toolkit  

Screen Time Policy

“Shared intentional technology time can encourage conversations with children and introduce new vocabulary. It can also offer children access to images of friends, family, animals, and objects that they would not otherwise see” (Shabazian & LiSoga, p. 60).1

Opportunities for learning surround us, particularly in the age of technology. Balancing children’s use of technology and screen time with other important learning opportunities and interactions is one of many challenges early childhood and school-age care providers face each day.

three young children looking at a computer tablet
Managing Screen Time

This section guides you through reviewing, revising, or creating a written policy that explains how your program manages the time children spend using technology (examples: computers, mobile devices) and other media (examples: television, videos). A Screen Time Policy describes a program’s use of a variety of media for learning. It is used as evidence for Developmentally Appropriate Learning and Practice: Screen Time: DAP 7.2 (DAP 6.2 – School-Age Only).

NOTE: If you meet the requirements for DAP 7.2 (DAP 6.2 –School-Age Only), you also meet the requirements for DAP 7.3, DAP 7.4, and DAP 7.5 (School- Age Only: DAP 6.3, DAP 6.4, and DAP 6.5).

Select the Requirements tab for information to include in your program’s screen time policy.

1 Shabazian, A.N. & LiSoga, C. (2014). Making the right choice simple: Selecting materials for infants and toddlers. Young Children, 69, 3, 60 – 65.


To meet the requirements for Developmentally Appropriate Learning and Practice: Screen Time: DAP 7.2 (DAP 6.2 – School-Age Only), you will upload a Screen Time Policy that describes your program’s approach to using technology and other media with children.

The Policy or Statement Builder provides a step-by-step guide for creating your policy.

Screen Time Policy

Technology has quickly become part of daily life for most of us, including many children. This easy access means that adults must make decisions about the time children spend in front of screens. Many experts have concerns about the effects of too much screen time, particularly as it relates to children’s health. At the same time, meaningful interaction with technology and media offers opportunities for children to explore worlds they might otherwise be unable to experience. A screen time policy outlines how and why the children in your program engage with technology and media devices, and the amount of screen time they are allowed.


What does the documentation look like?

A complete screen time policy includes the:

  • Types of screens available to children (television, tablets, computers, etc.)
  • Purpose, availability, and limitations related to screen use
  • Age(s) of children exposed to screens
  • How screen time is directly related to children’s learning
  • How program staff facilitate learning and engage with children when screens are in use
  • Other options available to children when screens are in use

How can you tell if you're on the right track?

You are on the right track if your policy explains your program’s use of screen time, including a clear purpose that matches the age and developmental needs of the children in your program.


Where can you learn more?

Let’s Move promotes healthy habits for children and provides useful guidelines for limiting screen time.

  Let’s Move: Limit Use of TV, Computers and Mobile Devices

Reduce Screen Time for Kids

For preschoolers, use screen time sparingly. No more than 30 minutes per week, or never, while in child care and early education settings Work with families to ensure no more than two hours per day at home Provide screen time reduction education to parents at least twice a year Preschoolers often watch more TV than is recommended at home so it's best to minimize screen time in child care and early education programs. Whenever young children in your care do get screen time, make sure it's for educational or physical activity purposes only.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) offers helpful guidance in determining appropriate limits of screen time with children.

  Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8

Technology and Young Children | National Association for the Education of Young Children | NAEYC

© National Association for the Education of Young Children - Promoting excellence in early childhood education 1313 L St. NW, Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20005 | (202)232-8777 | (800)424-2460 |

  Selective Examples of Effective Classroom Practice Involving Technology Tools and Interactive Media



Policy or Statement Builder

This interactive helps you develop a screen time policy. You have the option of emailing your responses to yourself and editing your final policy before uploading it to the Maryland EXCELS System. You are encouraged to type your responses in full sentences to make it easier to edit your final policy.


Build-A-Policy: Screen Time Policy

Next Steps

Use the following guide to upload your documentation, look ahead, and think about a plan for ongoing improvement.


Step 1: Prepare to Upload Your Document

  • Locate your username and password for logging into your Maryland EXCELS account
  • Locate the document you saved on the computer

Step 2: Look Ahead and Plan for Improvement

Look Ahead

If your Screen Time Policy meets the requirements for Developmentally Appropriate Learning and Practice: Screen Time: DAP 7.2 (DAP 6.2 – School-Age Only), it meets the Screen Time Policy requirements at all higher levels.

Plan for Improvement

Set a goal to learn more about effective uses of technology and interactive media with children. Since technology changes quickly, do your best to stay current on the latest trends and recommendations for children’s use of technology and media.


Step 3: Upload Your Documentation (DAP 7.2; DAP 6.2 – School-Age Only)

Log in to the Maryland EXCELS System to upload your program’s Screen Time Policy.

screenshot of Maryland EXCELS upload screen with a comment box
Upload Documentation