Smartphones, iPads and TVs have become more popular in our society, especially in recent years. They open up many doors for our children in terms of information and education, but can also be a distraction. While screen time isn’t necessarily a bad thing, how much is too much?
When? Babies under 18 months should have no screen time at all, while toddlers aged 18 to 24 months can start to enjoy a little bit together with a parent. Little ones aged two to three should have no more than one hour of it per day.
Good vs bad – not all screen time is created equal. For instance, playing an educational game together with your tot is much better than putting them in front of the TV to watch cartoons. Consider whether the media your toddler is being exposed to is age-appropriate and whether the media has a positive message. Avoid games that are violent or videos that are just about promoting toys.
Disconnecting – it’s important to schedule plenty of activities into your child’s day that don’t involve screens, such as storytime, nature play and sensory play. Set rules limiting screen time and buy toys that encourage disconnected play. Attending childcare or playgroup can help your child make some friends and advance their socialisation skills. It’s also a good idea to keep the bedroom free of any media and to keep the bedtime routine screen-free, as this helps the brain settle down for the night.
Screen Time Fact
It’s no surprise that screen time is on the rise. In fact, a study carried out by Common Sense Media in the US, kids under two years of age spend an average of 42 minutes looking at screens, while kids aged two to four spend 2.5 hours doing so.