It might seem harmless to pass on your smartphone or tablet to your child, just to keep them entertained or avoid a temper tantrum. However, not regulating safety and screen time can have consequences, since poor quality screen time has been associated with behavioural problems, sleep disturbances, obesity and loss of social skills. Your child needs to learn so many things that relate to social interactions, which may not be possible through video or other forms of digital content. You also need to ensure that your child does not exceed the prescribed limit for screen time. According to recommendations provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), toddlers should not use screens for more than 1-2 hours a day.
What exactly a child is watching also needs to be regulated. Choose content that has an educational element, so that it can boost your child’s learning. Educational TV shows are a good choice for toddlers. While your child is watching something, it will be great if you could be there with them. You will be able to answer their queries and ensure that they do not end up assuming things on their own. Maintain a strict schedule, so that your child does not demand more and does not throw a tantrum. Provide alternatives by engaging them in other fun activities such as reading, craft projects, drawing/painting, physical activities, etc.
Using the right approach and techniques, you can ensure that your child enjoys the screen time allotted to them and does not demand more than what’s needed. Here are some more safety and screen time tips for toddlers.