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Tech for Kids: Screen Time in the Early Years

May 5, 2021

From babies to teens, tech has become an abundant source of information, connection, and entertainment. In the last year even, many kids relied on tech for schooling unlike what we’ve seen in the past. For growing minds and little tykes, we know that screens can take us down the road of “getting too much of a good thing.” Parents should be in the know about a few things when it comes to screen time. Let’s dive in. 

The Power of Real-Life Interaction

Nothing in the whole wide world can replace real connections with real people and real faces. Did we mention the word “real?” For babies, it’s even more important to give them time to explore and connect without the use of technology. Tech for kids often includes young babies. Even though it is advertised for a baby, doesn’t mean that it is a good option for your baby. When your little one is growing, know that gross motor skills (big movements) come before fine motor skills (small, precise movements). This means that your baby needs opportunities to move in bigger ways, opposed to tapping or swiping on a screen. Instead of using screens for your little one, opt for more interactions that are full of reading, singing, talking, peek-a-boo, and face-to-face eye contact. This is what your baby really needs and craves early on.

screen time

Screen Time Drawbacks

The drawbacks of screen time are vast. When your child is developing, the last thing you want is to continually expose them to something that’s not contributing to healthy development. Let’s be honest though. The negative impacts of too much screen time go beyond our early years of life. Adults are guilty of spending too much time on screens as well. Sleep issues, increased risk of anxiety/depression, loss of social skills, behavioral problems, and reduced attention span can all arise from screen overuse. Kids aged 2-5 should really only have 1 hour during the week and 3 hours max during the weekend. As their parent, you are a key player in modeling healthy screen use. If everyone is more conscientious of how technology is used in the home and how much of it is used, the home will be better off.

screen time

Navigating Screen Time for Busy Parents

We understand that it can be extremely challenging to nix tech out of our lives completely. For some of us, it is nearly impossible. It’s not to say that all technology is always bad either. Moderation is simply key. For babies and toddlers, if tech is used, try to make sure that it follows some of these key criteria.

  • Interactive
  • Uses Senses
  • Slower-Paced
  • Open-Ended
  • Encourages Creativity

For our young kids, it’s also important for parents to participate with screen time. This way, your child will still have interactions with you. Even if technology is a big part of your home life, do your best to minimize its usage as much as possible. Especially during free time, there are so many fun alternatives for children. Perhaps they can explore activities that will keep them active or just be given time for unstructured play. They’ll often find that crafting, wandering outside, or simply coloring can be just as fun, or more fun, than what you can find on a screen.

screen time

From big to tiny movements, our team is ready to give your child a hands-on experience. Give us a call today if you think your child could benefit from therapy.

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