As a parent, it can be tempting to use the television as a babysitter, especially when you’re feeling exhausted or need a moment of peace. However, too much screen time can have negative effects on your toddler’s development, such as decreased physical activity, decreased social skills, and increased risk of obesity and sleep problems. That’s why it’s important to limit the amount of time your toddler spends in front of the screen.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of two watch no more than one hour of screen time per day, while older children should not exceed two hours. If your toddler is exceeding this amount of time, it’s important to start cutting down their screen time gradually.
Here are some tips to help you reduce your toddler’s screen time:
Set a schedule:
Decide on a schedule for screen time that works for your family, such as 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening. Stick to this schedule as much as possible and gradually decrease the amount of time as your toddler adjusts.
Find alternative activities:
Encourage your toddler to engage in physical activities, such as playing outside, doing arts and crafts, or playing with toys. You can also encourage imaginative play by creating a play area with props and costumes.
Limit background television:
Avoid having the television on in the background while your toddler is playing or eating. This can be distracting and encourages them to spend more time in front of the screen.
Make screen time a special event:
Reserve screen time for special occasions, such as watching a movie together on the weekends or during family time. Free kids cartoons can even become a family event. This makes it a special event and helps your toddler understand the importance of balance.
Encourage outdoor play:
Take your toddler to the park, go for walks, or have a picnic. Being in nature and getting fresh air can be a great way to decrease screen time and improve overall well-being.
Outdoor activities can be really fun, but don’t forget to protect yourself and your loved ones from the sun! Check out the infographic below for tips on how to do it!
Infographic provided by Halter Ego, a horse riding gear company
Lead by example:
As a parent, it’s important to set a good example for your toddler by limiting your own screen time. Spend time doing activities together as a family, such as playing board games or cooking, to encourage your toddler to follow your lead.
In conclusion, cutting down your toddler’s screen time is important for their overall health and development. By following these tips and being mindful of the amount of time they spend in front of the screen, you can help ensure that they benefit from the positive aspects of television while avoiding its potential negative effects.