THERE is nothing better than settling down on the settee with your children, a good film and some nibbles. This example of screen time is the wholesome one I remember enjoying when my girls were growing up.

Now, of course, screen time not only means watching TV, it is also constantly using a smart phone, tablet or laptop.

The main worries I have as a parent and practitioner is that screens are replacing one-to-one interaction between parents and children.

Speech and language is developed by back and forth conversations between child and parent. The constant use of electronic devices robs us of this opportunity to interact with our little ones.

Any screen used an hour before bedtime will garner a bad night’s sleep. The blue light emitted from a device switches on the brain and can disrupt the body’s natural rhythms and the production of melatonin, which is the sleep hormone.

Filming and photographing every aspect of family life takes away the thrill of ‘being in the moment’ - experiencing life through a lens is, sadly, one dimensional.

Social media is an instant way of sharing the highs and lows of everyday life. Using this as a way to get instant recognition, though, can all too often result in wellbeing taking a nose dive.

Of course screens are here to stay - the most important thing to remember is that we need a good balance, and being mindful to how much time both you and your children are spending using a screen is a good start to getting the balance right.

NEXT WEEK: Disciplining your child