Screen time, also referred to as sedentary time, has been discovered to be a common activity among two in three babies, and four in five toddlers watch movies, online videos, and television. In this age of technology, most of us spend most of our time looking at screens, whether T.V.s, smartphones, tablets, or computers. However, it is not ideal for a child’s growing brain.

Alice Ann Holland, Ph.D., ABPP, a certified clinical neuropsychologist and the Research Director at Children’s Health Neuropsychology service, in her explanation, said too much screen time harms a child. Therefore, the parents must take action in limiting or avoiding it.

In 2019, W.H.O. (World Health Organization) stated guidelines concerning screen time for children. They published that children below the age of two should not be allowed contact with electric screens and that children between the ages of 2-4 should be allowed for at most one hour. The American Academy of Pediatrics (A.A.P.) prescribed the following recommended screen times for children:

  • 0 – 2 Years: Parents should ensure that screen time is avoided except video-chatting and apps like flashcards with no video content, with parents. It is only to be done after 6 months of age.
  • 2 – 5 Years: Educational content should be their primary activity; nevertheless, it should not be more than one hour of screen time.
  • 6 and above: They should be allowed personal screen time, but it must not impact their exercise, sleep, and other healthy behaviors negatively.

These are steps that can ensure that screen time is avoided for your baby:

Play Baby Songs on Bluetooth Speakers and avoid Phone screen

 Babies naturally react to baby songs. It draws their attention, while some babies tend to dance or move their bodies when the music is playing. However, if you are playing from a phone, ensure that they do not come in contact with the phone because the child will be unable to operate the phone. Using a Bluetooth speaker is advisable.

Buy Sound Books, Touch and Feel Books

These books are a must for every parent. Aside from being entertaining books, they are the first means of education. They help babies get familiar with outside world knowledge and help them know some basic concepts for when they are old enough to go to school.

Give them an open-ended wooden toy

Usually, a typical means to ensure that your baby does not even know what screen time is is to fill them with toys. Give them toys that can occupy their time. A wooden car is better than a battery-operated car as it needs the baby to move it around which helps in the development of fine and gross motor skills and avoids sedentary play.

Give your baby an activity board

These are mostly known as activity or sensory boards but some call it ‘discovery or latch board.’ Nevertheless, it is an exciting piece for babies. This is because of the fun and simple project designed to keep the baby busy. Giving them an engaging board to unravel takes away their attention from screen time at the same time improving their analytical skills and fine motor skills.

Take them to the garden or have a plant nursery 

Babies like the comfortable feel of gardens because of the attractive, natural, and pleasing scents there. Apart from that, it helps them get accustomed to nature and helps them relax.

Replace screens with a wide variety of toys 

Children take delight in their toys, and the more toys they have, the better. Sadly, parents have turned to buying toys with screens and resorting to turning mobiles and tablets into toys, and that’s the primary reason why screen time has become so popular. After all, screen time shows images which they use as substitutes for their toys. 

Use Stickers on the Wall or Sticker books

Babies love to see images naturally, especially on the board or wall. It draws their attention. However, you may have to go through the stress of changing the stickers so that they can see something new each week or monthly. The goal is to ensure that they have something to see and imagine. It helps boost their memory retention.

It is ideal to limit baby’s screen time because they need to be focused on the educative aspect of their development during infancy. Too much screen time leads to a problem. Recently, diabetes 2 and obesity have increased amidst children watching too much television. Parents have been blamed for not taking precautions, and the first step towards doing this is limiting screen time.

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