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Screen Time and your Baby

Here is an interesting article from the New York Times regarding screen time and babies. While they say that more research is needed for conclusive results, the findings are intriguing.

Studies have shown that too much screen time may lead to developmental delays as early as age 2. “What seems to be missing in child development is human interaction, or face to face interaction. David J. Lewkowicz, a developmental psychologist at the Yale Child Study Center, said that face-to-face interaction between parent and child is crucial in giving babies a rich set of information, including about how facial expressions, words, tone of voice and physical feedback all combine to convey language and meaning.”

Although we know that screens are here to stay, we can establish limits and boundaries for our children. The most important step you can take to help limit screen time is to have face-to-face interactions with your child as often as possible.

Children thrive on routines and will push boundaries to see how far they can go. As parents, caregivers, and educators, it’s our job to establish a routine and enforce safe limits for them. This includes screen time limits. When your toddler wants to watch another video, and you already told them they are done, don’t give in to their tantrum. Instead, redirect their attention to their next activity. It’s also helpful to give them timed warnings that the next activity is starting: “When your video ends, we are going to put on our shoes and leave for school.”

Another disadvantage to having too much screen time is the effects it has on sleep and sleep patterns. Studies have shown that the lights and colors of the screen keep the brain in an active state. Blue light that the television emits also interferes with natural melatonin production, the hormone that regulates sleep cycles. Rather than watch a video before bed, read a book or do a simple puzzle with your child. You will all benefit from the time spent together and will be creating new bedtime routines.

Your child may be seeking attention from YOU, as much as possible. So, when they begin to act out or demand another game on the iPad, they may really be asking for you to play with them or read them a book. This all comes back to face-to-face interaction, which will help diminish the amount of screen time for your baby and toddler and improve behavior challenges.

If you need help establishing boundaries, limiting screen time, or have questions about how your baby and toddler are behaving, reach out at any time.

Sweet Dreams! 😴👶

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