Most babies ‘ brain development happens during the first two years of life. Parents should limit screen time for babies and toddlers. Instead, they should be exploring the environment and experience different smells, tastes, sights, and other senses so that they can learn more about the world. You should buy toys such as blocks, pretend-play toys, and wooden toys for toddlers that would aid in your child’s brain development. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advocates restricting the screen time to about an hour for toddlers under the guidance of their parents or a caregiver. Babies below the age of 18 months should not be given any screen time at all. While it may be a piece of good advice, it is not always possible to keep them away from TVs, computers, or smartphones in today’s tech world. Although, there are a few tips to help limit the screen time to a healthy amount that would not hinder with your toddler’s development –
Learn about Electronics and Other Gadgets
Today, kids know more about electronics than adults. Thus, you need to keep yourself updated on the latest trends so that you understand what different gadget risks are out there. If you do not know about the dangers, you will not be able to teach your kids about safe use. It is the best way to prevent your kids from playing violent or addictive games. The more you learn about the different electronics and apps, the better position you will be in saving your kids from those dangers.
Be an Exemplar of Gadget usage
You need to become a role model for your children and teach them a good use of gadgets by doing it yourself. Stop bingeing Netflix or keeping the television on all the time at home in front of your kids. Avoid browsing on your phone any free time you get. Set positive habits by following them yourself.
Create Technology-Free Areas around the House
Create areas around the house where no electronics are allowed, such as smartphones or laptops. One place can be the dining room that should be reserved for meals and conversations. Another area can be the bedroom so that the kids can avoid screen time right before going to sleep. Ensure that the rule applies to adults and kids, both.
Make Screen Time a Privilege
You can control the amount of screen time by making it a privilege rather than a right. For every negative behavior, take away your kid’s screen time, such as computer use or watching TV. Also, do not award screen time on any excellent behavior or action. Stick to the daily limit of screen time and look for other ways to reward your kids for good behavior.
Invest in Educational and Fun Toys
Schedule non-screen time for your kids, where they can play with toys that will help build their skills. Just enrolling in different activity classes is not enough. You should have some unstructured playtime that will enhance their creativity. Put away the gadgets and other electronics and interact with your child as much as you can.
Encourage Fun Activities
Sign up your kids for fun and creative activities so that they do not turn to gadgets for their entertainment. Also, encourage your kids to take up some sports or activities that do not involve any screen time. Walk them to the park or read them a book so that they do not miss screen time.
At first, limiting your child’s screen time may seem impossible or a battle. But, in the end, it will be worth fighting for. Start with a few steps at first, and you will find it easier to implement others as well. Once you start seeing the benefits, you will be compelled to continue.