Screen Time for Toddlers: Should Toddlers Be Playing On Smartphones?
This is a question that’s on the minds of a lot of parents, especially new, young parents. One of the reasons why it’s so pervasive is the fact that screens occupy a lot of our own time. we’re checking our phones for work-related stuff, staring at a computer screen half of the day, and end up relaxing by watching some television in the evenings.
Not ideal, right?
Of course, it isn’t. Even us adults should be up and about, walking, running, making things with our hands, and enjoying each others company. Even in a society where technology is so ubiquitous, it’s important that we make time for that.
What’s the Appropriate Screen Time for Toddlers?
When it comes to babies, we need to set the bar even higher. According to pediatricians and other researchers, children under the age of two should experience the world through their senses, by looking at it, smelling it, and touching things. What’s important at this age is that they explore, crawl, and spend quality time with other people in their brand new lives.
But, that doesn’t mean that we should ‘toss the baby out with the bathwater’, so to speak. Older toddlers, those between 24 and 36 months, as well as kids of preschool age can learn a lot by interacting with technology.
At Zoolingo, we understand the importance of a healthy balance in a toddler’s life. In fact, we cooperate with early development experts in an effort to make sure that all our games are educational, age appropriate, and bring value to your kids. That’s why so many special needs educators love to work with us.
Still, when it comes to toddlers playing on smartphones just because, we want to urge parents not to take route. Our app shouldn’t be used as a pacifier. If your child is restless, crying, or just a handful, they need to be picked up and played with.
Before your child engages in educational play time by using our app, they need to
Socialize and bond with you as a parent.
Spend time with siblings, family members, and friends.
Play with their hands and discover the wonders of touching everything around them (and you know that will include your books, iPad, and that expensive clock – just keep them away from scissors).
Spend time outside, playing in the park and getting muddy and dirty – there’s no greater joy for a toddler than making mud cakes, right?
How Can Toddlers Play On Smartphones Constructively (And You With Them)
The time your toddler gets to spend in front of a screen needs to be structured and organized. Use the time your toddler spends on your smartphone constructively, ensuring that they practice their weak points – vocabulary, hand and eye coordination, and problem solving skills are just the start. This goes double if your child has developmental issues or conditions, such as autism or Asperger’s syndrome. In fact, you can read exactly how your autistic child will benefit from Zoolingo’s learning games right here.
U.S. Department of Education funded a research that showed that TV screen time can help toddlers expand their vocabulary immensely in a short period of time. Still, watching TV is a passive exercise, and should be avoided if we’re talking about children that are under the age of two. Children older than 2 years can get much more from educational app games because they are interactive, super-targeted, and can aid in specific developmental areas.
If you want to ensure that your screen time for toddlers is doing them more good than bad, here’s what we recommend:
Limit the time your kid spends playing games on a device to max one hour a day. If we’re talking about babies (under two years of age), no more than 20 – 30 minutes every day – they will lose interest either way because their attention span is even shorter.
Let them play in the mornings (after spending time outside or socializing with other kids), or in the afternoons – an hour before nap time is not a good time to stare at a screen.
Use educational app games to augment what your child is learning in daycare or preschool on that specific day – vocabulary exercises, nursery rhymes, numbers, or shapes.
Make it together time – engage with your child while they are playing, ask questions, and solve puzzles with them. That way, there’s a social component to their screen time, and they get hang out with the person they love the most!
There’s one more important thing that you need to think about once your toddler starts expressing interest in tablets and iPads. There are a lot of educational apps for toddlers on the market – at least, they will tell you that they are educational. Choose the one that encourages interactions, movement, singing, practicing vocabulary, and has other elements that improve cognitive skills.
Zoolingo could be exactly what you are looking for. Why not trust our team of experts, as well as hundreds of children educators, and give it a try? We have a trial period that’s completely free so you can easily check if our educational games are something your kid might be interested in!
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