Toddler & devices: Setting Limits

In today’s fast-paced, technologically savvy world, it’s important to introduce your children to activities that help foster a love for the tech world. But can watching T.V. and spending time on electronic devices become a problem for your youngster? Research shows that the problem comes when children spend too much time on these electronic gadgets. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under the age of two refrain from watching any television or electronic devices. The reason is because their brains are learning to process things like depth perception and fine motor skills, all of which can’t be accomplished on a screen. For kids two to preschool age, the AAP states it’s best to limit screen time (t.v., electronic devices, websites, internet and smart phones) to an hour per day. Doing so can reduce your child’s risk of obesity and sleep problems, while helping to boost their academic and behavioral performance at school. If you’re unsure of how to set limits on your little one’s tech time, read on for great tips that will help you transition smoothly.

Set Boundaries

You want to limit your child’s time on tech devices without giving them a complex about how much T.V. time is okay. The best way to do this is simply to set a schedule. A good example is having the tech turn on only after homework is finished for half an hour before dinner and half an hour after dinner. Knowing what times technology is available will help children naturally limit their online time.

Go Educational

There are so many great apps for education on the market that are specifically designed with your child’s developmental milestones in mind. In fact, today’s parents have access to the biggest app stores available. You can check out the Play Market, App Store or even Amazon to purchase educational games that our designed just for kids. Almost all electronic devices today also come with a special “Kids Mode” that allows you to be in control of what your child is playing and learning. Making sure your child is working in an educational app will give you the peace of mind that they are soaking in valuable information as they play.

Watch Together

According to, children whose parents watched T.V. with them scored significantly higher on academic assessments than children who watched alone. The reasoning is that while watching with your child, you can use specific examples and point out questions that your child wouldn’t otherwise consider. You can also use what you’ve learned on the program to extend the learning. If you’ve learned about a certain number on Sesame Street, you can then talk about that number in the car and at the grocery store. The same goes for new items learned on gaming devices or tablets.

Common Use Areas

It’s important to talk to your child about the importance separating from their electronic devices every once in a while. To help limit your child’s tech time, you’ll want to have areas in the house where technology is okay to use and areas where it is not. For instance, you should never allow devices at the dinner table, which serves as a vital time for your family to connect and learn about the events of the day. You should also avoid giving a child a television in their room which can drastically cut back on the hours that your little one needs to sleep. When you’re finished with smart phones and tablets, you’ll want to store them in an area where the kids can’t get to them without your permission. Talk to your children about the importance of “unplugging” several times during the day and week. Giving them a break from technology can help them grow their social activities with friends and work on other developmental skills, like running or climbing.

Be In The Know

Remember checking on your child’s activity is important for their development because it keeps them safe and protected. Make sure you know what games your child is playing and who they are talking to online. There are parent tracking devices available for this exact purpose.

Spend Time Outdoors

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Letting them play outside without electronic devices is important to their milestone development. Outside play can help your kid reap a ton of health benefits by lowering their risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Know That Moderation is Key

It’s naïve to think that you should cut out all electronic devices from your child’s life. Technology is used in schools for testing and in a huge array of career fields. It’s vitally important that your children know how to use electronic devices like the tablet and computer. And there are some truly educational and helpful apps on the market today. But you just want to make sure your balancing out the other developing areas in your child’s life.

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As your teaching your child how to limit their screen time, keep in mind that it’s very important to model the behavior that you want to see. If you’re spending all your time in front of the T.V. and on your smart phone instead of interacting with your child, they will think that is what’s normal and it will hugely impair their development. Electronic devices should always be used to enhance your child’s education and never as a babysitter or a replacement parent. At the end of the day, your child will only be little for a short amount of time. It’s better to treasure the moments you have with them now and use your smart phone later (or at least after your little one heads to bed)!  Setting boundaries now will help your child learn to find a proper work/life balance when they are in their teen years and through adulthood. Remember to choose educational programming, be involved in your child’s online life and model the behavior you wish to see! If you do all of the above, you’ll be well on your way to grooming a successful, tech-savvy little toddler.

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