Back when we were babies and toddlers, the only screen time we had was whenever a show like Sesame Street was on and that was it. Otherwise, we were kept busy with plenty of other activities which involved outdoors or in the home or preschool- if we went there that is!
In those days, our parents did not worry about how much television we watched because the kids’ shows were on only at specific times. Not to mention, tablets, iPhones, and Androids did not exist! When we were babies and toddlers, that was before the days that YouTube was even a thought.
Today is much different because of all of these tablets and smartphones that so many of us are hooked on- so are our kids. We are also introducing this technology to babies and toddlers. And even though there are so many great apps and programs for the little ones, we need to know how much screen time for babies is appropriate. Kids will easily become hooked to these gadgets otherwise which will not be good. Let’s take a look at how often we should let our little ones have their screen time.
The Age of the Baby and Screen Time
The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that babies over 18 months of age can watch these programs on these apps and gadgets. Babies under that age will not benefit from any of that for the following reasons:
- Impedes their overall development. It is crucial for babies that are under a year and a half to get their entertainment and education from parents, caregivers, and educational toys. Online videos and apps will not help babies with their language development, emotional development, as well as social skills development and must be avoided as a result.
- Could cause weight problems later on. Even though babies under 18 months old will not go and eat mindlessly if they watch videos, if babies under that age are introduced to technology, they will get hooked and will not be very active- and will develop bad habits later on since they would be ingrained into them at a young age.
- Disrupt their sleep patterns. Babies under 18 months old need to get onto a good sleep schedule, and that means they must be free from any kind of distraction. Believe it or not, if children under a year and a half of age become hooked onto online videos and apps, that will get their minds racing and that will disrupt their sleep which is the last thing you would want to see happen.
The Programs That Toddlers Should Be Watching
It has been established that babies under 18 months old are not recommended to watch online videos or get lost in television shows. However, after a baby is 18-months-old, the programs obviously have to be age-appropriate and educational. When parents are introducing their toddlers to these gadgets, smartphones, and tablets then they need to only allow them to watch high-quality shows and play the best quality games.
Parents should also join their babies while they are watching a program or playing a game instead of handing over a gadget for the purpose of being an electronic babysitter.
The Recommended Time Limit for Babies
The amount of screen time for babies allowed should be no more than 1 hour a day, broken up. It is fine to allow your child to watch 2- half-hour shows at different times of the day as well. Allowing your toddler to watch a full hour of television or an online video is not recommended because they simply do not have the attention span to watch a program that runs for that long.
Now you are aware of the fact that babies under 18 months old should not watch online videos or television because it is poor for their overall development. Toddlers over that age can watch limited amounts of it as long as the programs and games are of high-quality. Your child’s pediatrician can give you more insight on how much screen time for babies is recommended as well.
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