With the rise in electronic gadgets and media that is educational, more and more children are spending increased amounts of time in front of the television, or the iphone, or the ipad, or the computer. While it is great that there are educational benefits to the programming that is available, don’t overdo it.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has a policy statement out with their recommendations for screen time. They say no more than 1-2 hours of quality programming per day, remove televisions from kids rooms, and for kids under 2 discourage screen time all together in favor of more interactive activities. In fact they also issue a statement that has them strongly opposed to television for kids under 2. They aren’t saying that there aren’t benefits but that the benefits of watching tv have not been shown.
What I found even more interesting was in a blog post by Your Therapy Source. An article that will be published in Pediatrics found that there is an association between screen time (tv and video game use) and attention problems later in childhood.
I am also amazed at how well some of the little kids do with navigating an iphone! They are better than I am. There are some great options out there for kids to use (such as Duck Duck Moose) on it but make it a special treat or for that occasion when you need to keep your child occupied and there aren’t any other options. Once again, moderation is the key!
There are so many ways to interact with your child and encourage active participation rather than in front of a screen. Maybe create your own show to put on for your family. Play board or card games, do creative play with their toys. I could go on and on with ideas for things to play with your kids or to encourage them to amuse themselves. I would love to hear some of the ideas that are out there already.