For years, child development experts advised parents that children under the age of two should not have significant exposure to screens and electronic devices. This advice was rooted in the knowledge that very young children need the positive effects of real-world experiences, like a hug from a parent or a trip to the park.
But, in today’s increasingly digital and screen-focused world, the prospect of keeping a child from spending any time looking at screens for two years is daunting and probably unrealistic. Many parents of young children, then, may be relieved to hear that new research is suggesting that the best way to handle screen use for young kids is a pragmatic approach based on the type of screen use and the needs of the individual child. Here are our five commonsensical tips on screens and young children.
- Set sensible limits. With babies and toddlers, it’s important to structure and regulate screen time. Young children sleep through quite a lot of the day, so if you do allow some screen use it’s crucial to make sure their waking hours aren’t consumed by staring at screens.
- Keep a balance. Setting limits on screen time is a great first step, but the way your young children spend the rest of their time will also be important. Babies and toddlers learn best through real world experiences, and as parents already know, they require lots of interaction and face to face attention. Make sure that young kids still get lots of chances to play, explore and interact in real life, away from screens.
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