Screen Time for Baby: How Much is Too Much?
Smartphones, tablets, and laptops are a fact of life in today’s world. You may even have seen an astonishingly talented toddler or two that seemed to know their way around a device more than some adults! In fact, it’s not uncommon for children as young as 2 years old to be able to navigate to YouTube to play their favorite songs (Baby Shark, we’re looking at you!). Still, as a parent committed to healthy living for your baby or toddler, you might have wondered if all this screen time is good for your child. After all, it was only recently that these devices seem to have invaded every part of our life. And you want to make the healthiest decisions for your little one. Of course, your friends at Wellements are always here to bring you tips and advice for what matters most for your family! Questions About Screen Time and Your Baby With all the information out there, you can sometimes feel overwhelmed finding what’s right for your family. And when it comes to screen time for baby, you probably have a few questions. But don’t worry, because we have answers! How much screen time is okay for babies and toddlers? Let’s start with the most obvious question. First, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines in 2016 for screen time and baby that offer a good place to begin. While every family will be unique, it’s recommended that you limit digital interactions to video chatting when your child is under 18 mo. And as toddlers, introduce only high-quality programming with supervised interactions. Is screen time bad for my baby or toddler? The American Academy of Pediatrics has indicated there are both positives and negatives when it comes to screen time. However, common concerns include difficulty sleeping, weight gain, anxiety, and a reduction in physical activity. Is screen time educational for my little one? It’s a common misconception that children can learn language, for example, from a screen. Live conversation remains the strongest way for them to grow their learning skills. At the same time, there is some research, presented at the same article above, that indicates recall and other skills can be improved in older children. How many toddlers can use a smartphone? The answer to this question might blow you away! Research shows that at least 1 in 4 toddlers have used a smartphone, and some research even indicates much higher numbers. From Baby to Big Kid, Your Screen Time Guidelines If you decide to allow screen time for your little one, there are a few guidelines you might want to keep in mind. This short list will get you start. Set up a dedicated area for screen time that you can monitor Schedule times just for screen time to regulate the amount of time Choose which programs you’ll watch first, so the activity is structured Eliminate screen time before bedtime to ensure quality sleep Make other activities a priority to keep your child healthy and having fun Other Activities and Additional Tips But what other activities should you encourage? And what about additional advice or tips for screen time? We have you covered there too! Activities that don’t involve screen time Craft projects in the home Trips to the local park Reading your favorite book together Starting a family boardgame night Creating forts outdoors or indoors Friday night dance party! Decorating the sidewalk with chalk art Heading out to the splash park Games of hide and seek A few extra tips for your household Grab a timer to ensure you stick to your screen time commitments It’s never to early to download a parental control app Model the behavior you want in your children by following your own rules Consider certain days for family to unplug and connect together Screen and review any content your child will be watching At Wellements, we know that every family will take a unique approach to raising their little one. And that’s okay! What tips or tricks have you found work best for you and your child?
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