Screen time for babies and toddlers is a topic that has been widely debated among parents and experts alike. On the one hand, screens can be a valuable tool for learning and entertainment, but on the other hand, excessive screen time has been linked to negative impacts on child development. As a parent, it’s important to understand the latest research on screen time for babies and toddlers, so you can make informed decisions about how much time your child spends in front of screens.
The benefits of screen time
One of the biggest benefits is the ability to connect with loved ones who may be far away, such as grandparents or other family members. Video calls can provide a valuable way for children to interact with their extended family and build relationships. Additionally, screens can be a great tool for learning, as many educational apps and videos are designed specifically for young children.
The risks of screen time
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under the age of two must avoid screen time altogether, except for video calls. The reason for this recommendation is that infants and toddlers need human interaction and hands-on exploration to build strong brain connections and learn about the world around them. Additionally, screens can interfere with sleep, which is crucial for the development of young children.
Setting boundaries around screen time
For children between the ages of two and five, the AAP recommends limiting screen time to just one hour per day. This is because young children need time to play, explore, interact with others, and learn through hands-on experiences. Furthermore, excessive screen time can interfere with physical activity and socialization, which are both critical for healthy development. Set boundaries around screen time, such as turning off devices during mealtimes and family activities.
Choosing high-quality content
The type of content that children are exposed to can impact their development. Choose educational, interactive, and age-appropriate content that encourages critical thinking. Be mindful of mature themes and violent imagery that can have a negative impact on mental and emotional well-being.
An insight from mamahood
As a parent, it can be overwhelming to navigate the world of screen time for your little ones. With so much information available and differing opinions on the subject, it’s important to remember that every child is unique. What works for one family may not work for another. The most important thing is to be informed, make informed decisions, and strike a balance that works best for your family. It’s also important to remember that parenting is a journey, and it’s okay to make changes and adjust your approach as you learn and grow. By taking the time to understand the benefits and risks of screen time, you’ll be equipped to make the best decisions for your child and your family.