We live in an ever-digitizing world and our mobile phones have become constant companions. Constant stimulation can be rough on the human brain, especially on those of our little ones. Pediatricians advise you avoid screen time for babies under 18 months altogether. Between the ages of 18 and 24 months, parents can gradually introduce screen media and discover the digital world together with their toddler. Here are some things you need to keep in mind to be a great digital Sherpa for your precious one.
The educational benefits of apps
There are several high-quality educational apps on the market, so definitely do your research to find the best ones for your little one. Pediatricians do emphasize that children between 18 and 24 months barely benefit from these games on an educational level, but they do greatly enjoy the interactions they have with their parent(s) while playing. So don’t just put a tablet or smartphone in your toddler’s hand, play together and enjoy the interaction with your clever offspring.
Before the 18-month-mark, babies can’t make a connection between the colorful shapes on-screen and their real-world counterparts. Sure, your baby might enjoy looking at the dancing colors and shapes, but they are not getting any educational benefit out of it. So don’t leave baby to sit in front of the tv for too long, or preferably even at all.
Are you in need of a short interaction break? Put baby on this very comfortable playmat and let them discover the different textures and shapes all on their own. Do you have an adventurous little one? Giddy up with this Alex the donkey rocker. Your toddler will be enthralled, and you won’t be able to resist those adorable squeaks of joy.
So how much is too much?
Does this digital danger mean you should never distract your toddler with an app to avoid a tantrum? Or allow a little tv time every now and then? Of course not. As with plenty of things, moderation is key. Cap your child’s electronic entertainment time to 1 hour a day until they are at least five.
Instead, talk to your baby often, or use their favorite cuddlies to put on a fun little show. It will be a major boost for their language skills, and they will find it a lot more entertaining than Peppa the Pig, we promise!