In today’s digital age, one topic fuels endless parental debates: screen time for our little ones. We’re surrounded by screens, and with the sensory stimulation they provide, it’s no surprise that babies are intrigued. If you’ve ever felt like a referee in a high-stakes wrestling match between your baby and the TV remote, fear not – you’re not alone!
Whether it’s the mesmerising glow of your phone or the delightful dance of colourful cartoons on the TV, you’ve entered the realm of screen time negotiations. Let’s dive into the curious case of screen time for our little ones!
In this guide we’ll be covering:
- How much screen time is healthy for babies?
- Tips for ensuring quality screen time and setting limits
How Much Screen Time is Healthy For Babies?
Different organisations have varying recommendations on the optimum amount of screen time for babies. For instance, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests steering clear of sedentary screen time for your littlest one during the first year. As for two-year-olds, the WHO proposes a gentler limit of just an hour of screen time. On the other hand, both the NHS and the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) have a much broader recommendation in place — all children, regardless of age, should aim to limit their screen time to a maximum of two hours per day.
With different advice being given, how much screen time should you allow?
Well, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health UK (RCPCH) says that screen time limits depend on each family and the individual needs of your child. They created four key questions that parents can answer to determine for themselves a safe time screen for their children:
1. Is screen time in your household controlled?
2. Does screen use interfere with what your family wants to do?
3. Does screen use interfere with sleep?
4. Are you able to control snacking during screen time?
Tips For Ensuring Quality Screen Time and Setting Limits
So, how can you ensure that your baby’s screen time doesn’t turn them into a tiny tech addict? Here are some tips that’ll have you navigate screen time like a pro:
- Curate quality content: Not all screen time is created equal. Choose age-appropriate educational content that is good for your baby’s developing brain cells. Interactive apps and videos that teach colours, shapes, and the alphabet are good choices (and yes, we count swiping on your phone as fine motor skill development.)
- Watch together: You’re the coolest thing in your baby’s universe – so why not share in their screen time adventures? Co-viewing is like bonding over the world’s tiniest movie marathon. Plus, you get to see if that singing dinosaur show is as catchy as they say (spoiler alert: it is).
- More playtime: Screen time is like dessert – best enjoyed in moderation. Encourage your baby to have good ol’ fashioned playtime. Blocks, stuffed animals, and that empty cardboard box that’s begging to be turned into a rocket ship – the possibilities are endless!
- Designated screen time zone: Create a specific area for screen use – a cosy corner with cushions and maybe a stuffed animal or two. This way, your tiny tech enthusiast knows when it’s screen time and when it’s time to give the phone a rest. You can also set a timer so your baby’s screen time doesn’t become too long.
- Be a role model: Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of having our eyes glued to screens from time to time. But guess what? You’re your baby’s first and best role model. So, if you’re showing restraint and spending quality time sans screens, your little one is more likely to follow suit.
- Hit the pause button: Some parents actually find it easier to avoid screens altogether than to figure out how much time is okay. Saying a full no to screens might sound tough, but here’s the deal: when kids get used to that rush from digital devices, they might start choosing screens for quick thrills over the slower but more awesome things the real world offers.
Remember, it’s not about banning screens from your baby’s life – it’s about embracing technology with open arms while keeping a watchful eye. From choosing the right content to setting those oh-so-crucial timers, you’ve got the tools to ensure that your baby’s relationship with screens is a healthy one. Good luck!
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