Babies and Toddlers should Learn from Play, not screensnewby.17 | December 1, 2011
As a parent of a small child, I know how tempting it is to set your child down in front of the television to get some things done around the house, like cleaning or cooking…or just a minute of sanity. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recently reinforced its recommendations that children under the age of 2 receive NO screen time. In a world where there are screens everywhere– at home, at the grocery store, at restaurants, this can be challenging for parents.
There are many television programs and DVDs that claim to have educational benefits for children. So when investigating further into the effect of media on children, scientists researched the potential benefits that media could have. They found that media programs are only beneficial or educational if children are able to understand the content and follow a story line. However, children under the age of 2 generally do not have this ability.
Further Key Findings:
- Unstructured play time is more valuable for the developing brain than electronic media. Children learn to think creatively, problem solve, and develop reasoning and motor skills at early ages through unstructured, unplugged play. Free play also teaches them how to entertain themselves.
- Young children learn best from—and need—interaction with humans, not screens.
- Parents who watch TV or videos with their child may add to the child’s understanding, but children learn more from live presentations than from televised ones.
- When parents are watching their own programs, this is “background media” for their children. It distracts the parent and decreases parent-child interaction. Its presence may also interfere with a young child’s learning from play and activities.
- Television viewing around bedtime can cause poor sleep habits and irregular sleep schedules, which can adversely affect mood, behavior and learning.
- Young children with heavy media use are at risk for delays in language development once they start school, but more research is needed as to the reasons.
For more information on this from the APA, you can read here.