Screen time and your preschooler remains a growing question for many parents. Browsing your Facebook and Instagram feeds, you see many photos and videos from friends and family – some with kids as young as six months old watching TV on their parents’ phones or tablets. You might scratch your head wondering if this is something worth worrying about now or something to put off until later years.
As children grow up, they tend to spend more time in front of the TV or computer screen. How much is too much? What does this mean for your preschooler’s development, now and later on down the road?
So what’s the takeaway? In this week’s blog, we are discussing screen time and your preschooler.
The Way’s and Reason’s for Setting Limits:
There are positives to allowing your child some screen time. For one, research shows that children who play video games have higher academic test scores. Another study shows that technology use is associated with increased social engagement, communication skills, and achieving goals.
But at the same time, research shows that children who spend more than two hours in front of a screen each day are more likely to have poor motor skills. Additionally, some studies show that there can be a link between screen time and attention problems later on.
- If you’re turning off the TV at home because your child needs to get ready for bed, don’t let them play with their iPad until right before bedtime.
- If you’re taking a road trip, turn the screen time off after an hour. Your child should be engaging in conversation or looking out the window for at least part of that time. And save your battery – don’t let them have access to the charger, so that screen time is a limited commodity.
- Most kids don’t need to spend more than two hours in front of the screen each day and even less if they’re younger than two years old. The CDC recommends up to one hour is enough.
What should your preschooler be doing beyond the screen?
During this time, children develop the foundation for reading, math, social-emotional, motor skills, and more. That is why it is important to incorporate other activities beyond Paw Patrol. From Sensory Crafts to STEM and even playtime, here are a few ideas to get your child moving:
- Play pretend: From tea-time to fort-building, taking part in your child’s imagination play can be a great organic creativity booster.
- Dance to their own beat: Have a dance party at home or a cool-down yoga stretch as a great way to help your child learn the importance of physical activity early on.
- Discover the great outdoors: Whether heading to one of LA’s botanical gardens or going for a walk outside, both are great ways for your child to appreciate nature.
- Have a Family Game Night: No need to be puzzled on this one. From board games to actual puzzles, having a game night encourages critical thinking and is of course great family fun!
The bottom line:
When you’re allowing your preschooler some screen time, make sure it’s limited and that they are using technology to help learn and play. Be mindful of what kind of media you’re letting them access — and keep the conversation open about why they shouldn’t be on the computer or watching TV when there are other, more valuable things to do.