While phones, iPads and other devices all have their place in the home and are really useful for responsible parents, many parents are concerned about the damage passive screen viewing can cause their baby. In fact, the World Health Organization has recommended that babies do not have any screen time before the age of two. Screen time from an early age has even been linked to problems like ADHD, childhood obesity and stunted cognitive development. But in the digital age, how is it possible to keep our little ones away from screens?
Number 1 – Be a Good Role Model
Children and even babies learn from a very young age to copy parents’ behaviour. If we as parents are constantly on our phones when around the little ones, this will increase their interest in electronic devices and result in an attachment to screens from an early age. Babies may even feel that they are competing with devices for parents’ attention, so perhaps the best advice is to only use your devices discreetly and avoid doing so too visibly in front of your baby.
Number 2 – Teach Your Baby to Play PROPERLY
Try and find toys that your baby can play creatively with for reasonably long periods of time. Toys that provide a variety of contrasting colours, textures and sounds have been shown to enhance infant creativity. Even better, your baby needs to learn how to engage with the world around them even when parents aren’t directly involved. Choosing the right items for them to play with helps them to learn at a suitable pace and helps parents avoid the easy trap of handing over the phone.
Number 3 – Switch Off Rather than Turn Away
Often parents trying to keep babies away from screens try to angle their babies away from any nearby screens, including phones and TVs. But the sounds and light these devices produce are still alluring for babies and will affect their concentration on the more important activities of feeding, sleeping and play. Instead of turning them away from the screens, why not just switch the screens off when the little one is in the room? Many parents have found that having a baby has allowed them to reduce dependence on digital entertainment and family life has become far more rewarding.