Promoting Healthy Tech Habits

In today's digital age, children are growing up surrounded by screens, from smartphones and tablets to computers and televisions. While technology offers many benefits, parents are rightfully concerned about the potential impact of excessive screen time on their toddlers' development and well-being.

In this blog, we'll explore the topic of screen time and technology use for toddlers, addressing common questions parents may have and offering practical tips for promoting healthy tech habits in the digital age.

Understanding Screen Time Guidelines

The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) provides guidelines for screen time and media use for children, including toddlers. According to the AAP:

  • For children younger than 18 months: Screen time is not recommended, except for video chatting with family and friends.
  • For children aged 18 to 24 months: Limited screen time may be introduced, with high-quality educational content under parental supervision. There are so many great apps for your toddler to explore especially for the brain development, thinking and creativity. 
  • For children aged 2 to 5 years: Screen time should be limited to one hour per day of high-quality programming, with co-viewing and parent interaction encouraged.

Numerous educational apps are available that can effectively prepare your toddler for early education, including reception at school.

These apps offer interactive and engaging activities designed to enhance key skills such as literacy, numeracy, problem-solving, and critical thinking.

From letter and number recognition to basic phonics and math concepts, toddlers can explore a wide range of educational content in a fun and accessible way.

Additionally, many apps incorporate elements of creativity, fine motor skills development, and social-emotional learning, providing a well-rounded educational experience.

By integrating these educational apps into your child's routine, you can supplement their learning and help them build a strong foundation for success as they transition into formal education. 

Establishing Healthy Tech Habits

Set Limits

Establish clear limits on screen time for your toddler, and stick to them consistently. Use a timer or visual cues to help your child understand when screen time is over.

Prioritise Active Play

Encourage your toddler to engage in active play and other offline activities that promote physical activity, creativity, and social interaction.

a mum plating with a baby

Choose High-Quality Content

When allowing screen time, opt for educational and age-appropriate content that supports your child's learning and development. Look for apps, games, and videos that are interactive, engaging, and aligned with your child's interests.

Co-View and Engage

Whenever possible, watch and engage with your toddler during screen time. Ask questions, make observations, and encourage conversation to enhance learning and comprehension.

Model Healthy Screen Habits

Be mindful of your own screen use and model healthy tech habits for your toddler. Limit your own screen time in front of your child, and prioritise face-to-face interaction and quality time together.

Create Screen-Free Zones

Designate certain areas of your home, such as bedrooms and mealtime areas, as screen-free zones. This helps promote healthy boundaries and encourages offline activities and family interactions.

Monitor Content and Usage

Regularly review the content your child is accessing and ensure that it aligns with your family's values and guidelines. Use parental controls and settings to limit access to inappropriate content and track your child's screen time usage.

Be Flexible and Adapt

Recognise that screen time rules may need to be adjusted based on your child's age, developmental stage, and individual needs. Be willing to adapt your approach as needed to support your child's healthy development.

Navigating screen time and technology use for toddlers requires thoughtful consideration and proactive management from parents.

By setting clear limits, prioritising high-quality content, and promoting offline activities, parents can help their toddlers develop healthy tech habits and thrive in today's digital world.

Remember that moderation is key, and maintaining a balance between screen time and other activities is essential for your child's overall well-being.

With intentional guidance and support, parents can empower their toddlers to make the most of technology while fostering healthy habits that will benefit them for years to come.