May 15, 2019

Make Sure Screen Time is Quality Time

Look around right now and chances are you’ll see many people with their eyes glued to some sort of screen. And yes, that would include you, reading this post.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Screens are everywhere – on phones, tablets, computers and televisions. They’ve become valuable windows into enhanced communication, productivity and learning. But as with most good things, overdoing it can have negative consequences.

In January, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a report that said excessive screen time can affect children’s development. The authors recommend that pediatricians and health care practitioners guide parents on appropriate amounts of screen exposure and discuss the consequences of excessive screen use.

A 2018 study, published in the British Medical Journal, recommends limiting children’s time spent watching screens to less than two hours a day.

At Kiddie Academy, we realize that there’s a need to find the sweet spot for constructive screen time that contributes to children’s learning. “Our approach to screen time includes using technology as a tool and as a means of communication,” said Richard Peterson, Kiddie Academy’s Vice President of Education. “We know it can’t take the place of many of the educational basics for young children, but when teachers have technology available and they know how to use it, it can create powerful opportunities for in-depth learning.”

Use of televisions or computers for passive viewing is not part of the Kiddie Academy curriculum.  But, Peterson says, videos that encourage children to move their bodies or play a game are acceptable as active involvement with their teachers.

Peterson recommends that for preschoolers, media screen time should be limited to 30 minutes a week for children in child care. Media screen time at home for preschool children should be limited to one to two hours of quality viewing per day.

It’s so easy just to flip on the TV or some other device to entertain our children after a busy day. But there are other alternatives that can be more constructive, more sociable and even more entertaining. Next time, instead of pushing the “On” button, why not try playing a board game or card game with the family. “Playing games with the family is a true bonding and memory building experience,” said Peterson.

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