For years, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) had some pretty stringent guidelines when it came to screen time for little ones. They recommend no screens (that’s no cartoons, no smart phone games, no movies) for a baby’s first 2 years of life, and then no more than 2 hours a day of digital entertainment after that.
The reasoning behind these guidelines had a lot to do with little developing brains and a fear that screen time could contribute to ADD and ADHD. The AAP was simply firm in the fact that kids needed to interact with, and explore, the world around them; not just sit in front of a screen and absorb.
Still… plenty of families struggled to stick to those strict guidelines, and in 2015, the AAP decided to ease up on their recommendations. Now, there are no hourly limitations at all (not even for babies). Instead, the AAP explains that screen time is just a standard way of life these days, but that parents should still be actively participating in what their little ones are viewing.
Good news for you: screen time is no longer considered a bad thing.
Even still, you may want to consider limiting your child’s screen time, and certainly monitoring and engaging in the screen time they do indulge in. That means watching movies with them, laughing and cuddling together during the best scenes. It means sitting beside them as they play games on your tablet, cheering them on as they learn new skills. And most importantly, it means still getting them outside to play, or to interact with the world in other (non-digital) ways.
Basically, the new guidelines are all about moderation and setting logical limits.
Limits that you, as a family, get to decide upon.
If you’re still feeling a bit unsure about screen time, though, don’t fret; there are always plenty of other options for entertaining your little one! Reading, cooking simple recipes together, or building with blocks are all highly engaging activities that will help to stimulate your baby’s brain in ways that the screen may not.
In this world we live in today, it is inevitable that screens and digital media will be a big part of your child’s life, but that doesn’t mean they have to be consumed by these things at such a young age. You get to make the rules, and to decide what works best for your family!
Just remember, engagement should be happening with or without the screens!
Written by Leah Campbell, infertility advocate, adoptive mama, writer and editor. Find me @sifinalaska on Twitter.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general informational basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.