5 Ways to Make Toddler Screen Time Count
There are 6 activities that I try to do each day with my Little one; listen to some music, get outside, do some kind of sit down craft/art, read to her, and let her have some screen time. Yes, you read that correctly, I try to let her have some screen time. In today’s world we consistently hear how screen time can turn your child’s brain to mush. While yes, too much of anything can be a bad thing, there are some positives to letting your child have some screen time.
Preparing for a Virtual World: From the desktop to the laptop to smart phones, we have seen technology continue to grow and evolve over the years. It is safe to say we live in a technology forward world. With these continuous advancements it is certain that our Littles will need exposure to these technologies to better adapt to their future. Facts show that nearly 50 percent of all jobs in today’s world require some form of technology related skills and it is predicted that this will increase to 77 percent in the next decade.
Learning in a New Way: Just as each child is unique, so is the way that they learn. As a mom, I’m always trying to find new and different approaches to get my Little one to learn new concepts like her ABC’s and identifying objects. Technology has not only helped her in these areas, but has given me ideas on how to approach learning these concepts better with her. One of my favorite shows that helps with major life concepts (sharing, potty-training, ect.) is PBS’s Daniel Tiger. Daniel has helped my 18 month old little learn to clean up her toys once she is done and I’m hopeful that Daniel will help us with potty-training when the time comes. As the saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child”; I believe that screen time can be an extension of my village.
Not all Screen Time is Passive: We know that apps make our lives easier as adults, and finding some interactive apps that teach concepts like letter names and sounds, colors, sequencing, counting and identifying shapes not only help develop those pre-reading and math skills, but they also teach children how to interact with technology that they will be using in school and life in the future.
Get Up and Move: It may seem counterintuitive, but in my experience screen time with my Little one has actually encouraged her to move! With many shows/apps having rhymes and songs it’s no wonder that your Little wants to get up and dance - the show Wiggles is one of our favorites. At around 18 months old little ones start to really imitate what they see; keep this in mind when choosing a screen time show or activity.
Family Connections: I can remember as a kid being so excited for Friday evenings as it usually consisted of pizza and a movie together. Creating these memories is something that we try to do with our daughter if we choose to have screen time as a family. The nice part about watching a movie together is that my husband and I can engage with her by asking questions. We can ask her to pronounce the names of characters in the movie and/or dancing with her when a good song comes on. Some of the best ways of learning happen when multiple tools are at work.
Like all good things, it is good to do them in moderation. To help with this and to make the most of your little’s screen time keep these few final tips in mind. Limit the amount of time that is spent in-front of the screen; experts suggest that around one hour a day is good for children between the ages of 2-5 years old. Focus on shows that engage learning and have productive concepts; talking with fellow parents is a great way to learn what shows/apps to stay avoid. Try to be a part of the program; if you view the program with them, you can use the concepts they saw in everyday activities to help deepen their learning. Finally, it is important to establish rules about what, when, and how long screens are a part of their day.Author: Karissa Sargent
Sources: Devex, CDE, henryford.com