Many parents are surprised to learn that screens aren't all bad. DragonFly Pediatric Therapy is dedicated to educating parents on topics like these. With helpful resources and pediatric occupational therapy, she supports families in raising thriving, happy, and healthy kids.
This guide explains how you can help your toddler enjoy productive and educational screen time.
Get the tech you need to enjoy safe screen time.
Before your kids can use screen time for learning, they need the necessary tools. Consider getting a new tablet or desktop computer. Older models will lack speed and storage space. Whether you decide to invest in a laptop, desktop, or tablet, you can find great deals online. Lenovo offers rebates and special offers on its website, for example, while Amazon has a dedicated page for tech deals. Do your research and comparison shop between brands before buying to make sure you get the best rate.
Find the right educational screen time options for your child.
Once you have the tech tools you need, it's on you to guide your toddler's screen time. Need inspiration? You can use technology to teach your little one about music, for example. Research shows that music helps kids learn math, listening, and language skills. For example, toddlers can use rhythm to master counting. Check out educational YouTube channels via free resources like 123ABCtv: this song teaches right versus left, for example.
You can also use digital tools for language learning. While you might think a toddler is too young to pick up a second language, this isn't the case. According to the World Literacy Foundation, the earlier kids are exposed to a new language, the better. Younger brains are still developing and will "soak up" new languages easily. Language learning also helps kids learn about other cultures. Check out eLearning industry's list of resources, which includes options like Rosetta Stone Kids Lingo Letter Sounds and Kids Learn Mandarin.
A pediatric occupational therapist can make additional expert recommendations for child-friendly educational apps. Puzzle apps like Hidden Pictures Puzzle Town help enhance cognitive skills and basics like color recognition, for example. Meanwhile, interactive tools like Touch and Write app support improved motor skills. There are also memory game apps available to encourage kids to hone concentration. This is another example of how screen time can prepare kids for school.
Know when to limit screen time.
Educational screen time has benefits. It shouldn't make up your toddler's entire day, however. It's important for kids to remain active and avoid too much sedentary activity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, kids need physical activity for normal development and growth and improved overall health. Toddlers aged 18 to 24 months should be limited to about one hour of screen time per day. Note that this doesn't include interactive screen time, like video calls with grandparents or other family members.
As the above guide makes clear, screen time doesn't have to be a bad thing. Children can learn many new skills via digital technology, while tired parents can have a rest while the screen keeps the kids amused. You simply have to do your research into the right apps and tools to make sure your toddler is benefitting from this time.
For more holistic parenting resources, get to know The Dragonfly Approach.
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