Research has shown that toddlers can’t tell the difference between animation and reality and tend to be overstimulated. Therefore, the quality of what they are being exposed too is very critical at this age. The academy supports face to face screen interaction such as Face Time, or Skype with friends and family which is beneficial for brain development. The more we interact, talk and read to infants and toddlers the better it is for their cognitive and social skills. It also advises parents to drop screen time for toddlers from two hours to an hour daily and to allow them to be stimulated by educational videos or high-end interactive TV shows such as “sesame street’ or “Barney and Friends” instead of regular cartoons.
As for children over 6 years of age, parents should only allow screen time after their daily duties such as homework, physical activity, and free play with friends are met. The AAP issued a statement last year, advising parents to be aware of the nature of the electronic games their kids play, as it can negatively affect their learning ability, even their behavior, and perception of others.
Monitoring what they view as toddlers are easy – well relatively more straightforward – then doing so with opinionated middle schoolers going through immense peer pressure.
As mothers, we realized that there are no perfect parenting days. On some, we may be well composed. on overscheduled days we tend to let things slid off a bit.
A few pointers to go by:
• Avoid handing them willingly their screens, involve them instead is an activity or a simple conversation
• Avoid TVs in Bedrooms and put all your monitors – computers, tablets and TV in the family area for everyone to share. It’s a way for you to keep a discrete eye on the games they play and videos they view.
• Schedule family Off-Screen time. Set a time where screen time is switched off for all members of the family, mealtime, bedtime, grandparents visits …
• Explain your family values: This helps children understand why the rules may be different at their friends or relatives.
• Provide alternatives. Kids need to be entertained especially during the holidays, weekends and soaring hot days! So be sure you provide books, art supplies, bikes, board games.
• Make them busy with house chores, hobbies, and activities
• Keep reminding yourself that boredom is good!