Has screen time use increased for your 2 to 5-year-old? You are not alone! Parents, it is so easy to be hard on yourselves for using screen time with your child more often as a calming strategy, reward, break, etc. as COVID-19 caused us to work from home and simultaneously provide childcare. How could you not implement more screen time?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) develops recommendations for media use and screen time for children. Here’s what we know:
For toddlers and preschoolers to develop cognitively and social-emotionally, it is critical they explore and interact with their surroundings with trusted caregivers. According to the AAP, impulse control and emotional regulation are skills that children need to practice with others. No educational show or app will be able to teach these skills better than playing and learning in the real world. If your child does love screen time, it is important you interact with them during their screen time as much as possible to help them understand what they are viewing and apply it to the real world. Remember that you are the most important part of the equation for them to learn!
This is not to say that video-chatting with loved ones should be limited. It is so important for your child to stay as socially connected as possible during this time!
Finally, parents, it is OK to give yourself a break. We do the best we can to cope with life’s stress as it comes. Take a moment to reflect on ways you can implement more interaction with your child’s environment. Perhaps that is providing puzzles or legos instead of screen time. Maybe it is leaving the TV off when you are not in the room. Or maybe it is cuddling with your child on the couch while playing a game on the tablet together.
by Kaylee Goss, MA, NCC, LAPC