Technology has become a staple in everyday life. While two- and three-year-old children generally can’t read or spell, they can maneuver their way around a tablet or phone with ease. Although televisions still play a part in screen time, more times than not, a child is in front of a laptop, tablet, or phone. If you think your little ones are getting too much screen time, here are some things you ought to know.
Is it OK to Give My Toddler a Little Bit of Screen Time?
Ideally, children under the age of 18 months should not have access to any screen time. But realistically, most parents are going to allow their little ones some time in front of one screen or another. If you must, then limit the time to an hour at most and stick to educational and enrichment shows. The first two years of life is when a child’s brain develops the most, so having real life experiences and interactions is the best way for a child to learn and explore.
As children age, screen time can be increased, but it should be kept below 1-2 hours a day for children under the age of five.. Whether on the television, computer, tablet, or phone, children between two and five years of age should only watch educational shows or play games that will enhance their cognitive abilities. According to the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP), long hours of screen time is not good for any child, but especially for babies and toddlers.
Healthier Alternatives to Electronics
Instead of allowing your child to spend hours in front of a screen, try some of the following:
- Have story time
- Draw and color
- Put together puzzles
- Play outside
- Go for a bike ride
- Spend time at the park
- Go to your local library and participate in their activities
- Have play dates with other children
With unlimited access to screens, it is almost impossible to keep kids away. However, parents and caregivers should never use screen time as a babysitter. Instead, set some rules and limits on the amount of screen time per day. Screens have their place, and there are many quality educational games and programs. But unstructured playtime and social interactions are critical to your child’s growth and development.
Check out Hospitality Health ER in Tyler, a child-friendly emergency room, located at 3943 Old Jacksonville Hwy, Tyler, TX 75701 for minor and major health emergencies. Or visit our blog for more on parenting and health.