It is a well-known fact that technology that we use is mainly for the consumption of mature or grown audience. While it is inevitable that our kids are part of the technology we use, we need to understand and restrict it to whatever extent possible. No screen time is good enough. Just like we can’t allow our babies to operate the oven or light a fire, we must not allow them access to screen time. It probably buys you some time and it is understandable, but it is only harmful to them in the long run.
NO SCREEN TIME FOR BABIES & TODDLERS
Infants like screens mainly because of the bright colors. But according to experts it takes between 18 and 24 months for babies brains to develop and decipher the symbols on a screen (or books) to represent the real world.
As per AAP guidelines published in 2016, they recommend the following:
- 0-18 months: No screen time at all. Active video calling with family members or friends is acceptable but again, restricted.
- 18-24 months: Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they’re seeing.
- 2-5 years: Up to 1 hour a day when a parent is co-viewing
- 6 and older: Place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.
NO SCREEN TIME
Here are 5 reasons to avoid any screen time for babies & toddlers:
- Physical harm: It is extremely harmful for the child’s brain development and can create issues with eyesight
- Mental harm: There are certain parts of the brain that are activated by books and by human interaction. This is missing in kids. Screens are said to shorten memory, develop attention issues and hinder sound sleep.
- Behavior: It has been proved time & again that screen time causes kids to develop violent behavior, become introverted and be socially awkward
- Addiction: Yes, screens are addictive as much as any other vices. Once addicted, it is extremely difficult to undo this habit.
- Distraction feeding: this is become a very common phenomenon since the past few years. While our parents would have always indulged in some sort of distraction feeding, it is always better for the babies to be
I know many parents who proudly speak about how their toddler can operate their iPhone. Our smart phones are called so for a reason, they are smart. They are easy to operate and have a lot of action packed in them. That’s why they are easily addictive.
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Here’s how you can make this work:
1.Active screen time up to less than an hour a day is OK
This includes Facetime or video calling with family members or friends. This is also important, especially when you are an expat family or living away from grandparents and extended family. This causes them to emotionally engage and that is the difference between active & passive viewing.
Don’t introduce a phone or tablet till 2 years of age. It’s not even necessary after but if the child is addicted to something by that age, it is very difficult to discontinue the habit in the terrible twos.
Discourage all screen time including passive viewing. Sure if you have older siblings or other family members around, this can get hard. But if your kid isn’t exposed to screens, they won’t get addicted. Have parental control on all the devices, there are a lot of apps available to help you with this.
Designate media-free times together for all family members, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms. Make a family media plan and ensure you all stick to it.
Check out Amazon Echo Dot for kids. Note that this is only for older kids and not recommended for babies or toddlers.
It takes more effort from the care giver. Raising a kid is hard, and it does take a village. But it isn’t impossible. Make an extra effort to be patient in the formative years of your kids life. It will truly make the world a better place. Let your baby enjoy banging pots and pans instead of sitting in front of a tablet. They learn more from exploring the real world against the reel world
Spend more time outdoors as much as possible. This is therapeutical for the kids as well as the caregivers. There are tons of activities that can be planned in all weather conditions. Do consult other parents or even your own parents for innovative ideas to keep your little ones engaged
Check out this post on some fresh ideas for baby activities.
Build a community of friends. Let kids engage with one another. Allow them to share toys, it will help them as they grow up into preschool and kindergarten
Check out cheap and fun toys from Dollar Tree.
from an early age. It is extremely hard for kids to develop, some more than others. Mine was especially extremely clingy and needed me or dad to constantly engage with him. This can get very exhausting.
Organize play space and practice toy rotation. Do not offer too many choices at a time.
Check out this toy organizer on Amazon.
7.Let them learn on their own
Allow your kid to struggle a bit. Don’t give them away everything easily, don’t always show them what to do with a toy. Let them explore and discover what they possibly can do. This will keep them engaged longer and also increase curiosity. Trust your kid, they will eventually learn everything so cut the urge to spoon-feed everything
8.Include them in your daily routine
Place them next to you in whatever chores you are doing. Mine started walking at 9 months of age and has always been on the move. But include them in your activity and they will love it. Keep talking to them and explain what you are doing and why
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