How Does Screen Time Take Away from Language Development Time?
Children learn to talk and communicate through interactions with other people. The first several years of life are crucial for your child’s language development. It is when their brain is the most receptive to learning new language and is building communication pathways that will be with them for the rest of their lives.
Once that window closes, it is much more difficult for someone to learn and develop language skills. Every minute that your child spends in front of a screen is one fewer minute that he could spend learning from your interactions with your child or practicing their interactions with you. Screen time takes away from time that could (and should) be spent on person-to-person interactions.
Talk to your children when they are in the car and make sure they do not watch any screen in the car. If they don’t have a devise, you would most likely be talking to them more, even if they are not responding. And if they’re bored, they might start saying something to you.
Sometime parents think they need a break. Sometimes you just want your child to sit down and be quiet for two minutes so you can have some space for once in the day. But, Are those few moments of peace worth risking your child’s language development?
The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages TV and other media use by children younger than 2 years and encourages interactive play. Of course, your child isn’t going to suddenly stop talking if they see a few minutes of television. But don’t make a habit out of it. After 2 years of age, you can lighten up a little, up to 2 hours per day.
You can set up your screen time rules however you want. You can try limiting the maximum number of minutes the child is in front of a screen per day.
Try some of these alternatives to screen time that are way better for your child’s development and will help you build a better relationship with your child as well. Keep in mind it’s important for you to put away your screens when you interact with your child as well. Put away your smart phone!
Talk with your child. If your child is only giving you one-word responses, try asking more specific questions (like “who did you eat lunch with”) instead of open-ended questions (like “how was your day?”).
Read a book
Play with your child’s favorite toy
Color a picture
Make a craft project
Play in the yard
Go for a walk
Take your child to a park
Go for a car ride and talk about what you see
Go to the library and look for books on a topic that interests your child
Play a board game
Teach your child a new skill
Teach or practice a sport in the back yard
Go somewhere with an indoor play-place
Call up some friends and have a play date
Cook something in the kitchen together
Plant seeds or plants in a garden