BABIES, TODDLERS AND SCREEN TIME

Ok, first things first. I don't intend this post to be overly negative, it just isn't in my nature, and hey this post speaks as much to me as a mom of three kids, wife, entrepreneur and all the craziness that goes on in our lives. It's so easy to just stick an Ipad in my youngest ones hand and he happily wanders into his room and 3 hours later when it's time for dinner, he's still watching his Ipad...so maybe this post is more for me than anything else :).

So, we see them everywhere,  Ipads, phones, computers. Being overused by very young children at baby and toddler age. There are many concepts that children can learn through the use of hand held devices, but please be aware that there are many skills that screens cannot teach children.

SCREENS CAN’T…

Replace conversation with your child: When parents talk to their child we respond to their questions and engage in conversational turn-taking.  One person makes a statement, and the other person responds. Children learn to read facial expressions and body language through their exeriences with other people.  Screens can’t teach these pragmatic, conversational skills.

Replace reading to your child: When grown-ups read to children we often ask questions about a story. We relate the story to the interests of the child. We talk about the pictures.  All of this interaction develops a child’s language and pre-literacy skills. As we read together we share inside jokes and giggles that are personal and that connect the story to our child’s life. Children ask questions and we respond to them. We bond with our children as we read to them and have our cozy bedtime routine or story time together. 

Support fine motor development: To develop fine motor skills children need to hold and manipulate crayons, paintbrushes, and pencils in their hands. They need to build with blocks. Sliding a finger across a screen cannot replicate the physical manipulation of these tools and objects. There may be puzzle apps, but they cannot replicate the physical act of holding a puzzle piece, turning it, looking at the shape and colors, and sliding it into place. A screen cannot provide the sensory input and physical exercise that play dough provides as it is squished in small hands.

SCREEN FREE OPTIONS:

  • To suport the development of conversation and social skills have a screen free meal together

  • Create a screen free zone in your home

  • When in the car, have time when the family is just listening to music, playing an on-the-go game like this one or this one.

  • When you’re fixing a meal, have your child draw a picture about the best part of the day, or let them help set the table or prepare the meal as they are capable.

  • This blog, Creative Connections for Kids, is full of inexpensive ideas that are all about connecting and playing with your kids!  

It may sound as if I think that screens are the scourage of the earth. I really don’t. I understand that they can be an absolute lifesaver on the the plane, in the doctor’s office, etc.  And I am as much guilty as the next one, but I try to keep dinner time a mobile free zone (even for daddy in the house) so we can have a conversation about everybody days. I also try to be mobile free during restaurant visits, its a fun experience and I want my children to learn how to behave in a nice restaurant not just having their noise in a device.

Hope you found this helpful and if anything just comment below!
xoxo,
Gunilla