There is so much technology around, TV, tablets, mobile phones and we all know children love watching their favourite programme and of course they are quiet! However, we know that children learn best from playing and interacting with people. Children need time away from technology to develop their interaction.
How much is too much?
It is not recommended that children under 2 years have any screen time. For children aged 2-5 its recommended that they should be exposed to just 1-2 hours per day and for 5-11 year olds 2-5=3 hours per day.
Try reducing the amount of time your child spends watching TV slowly. Offer choices of a few programmes for your child to choose from and then turning the TV off and doing something different. You could read a book, act out the programme they have just watched or go outside to play.
Unfortunately, TV is more entering than we are! When playing with your child try turning the TV off completely. This not only shows them that they have your full attention but also enables them to focus on what you say saying.
Long car journeys can be difficult and boring, instead of putting on 'KidsTube' why not break it up by playing games such as ‘I Spy…’ or ‘Who am I?’ These are not only fun but can also help to develop your child’s language and memory skills.
Trying to adopt ‘technology free time’ can be helpful to reduce the time spent on technology as a family. You could try this during meal times or even at bed time. Research shows that reduced screen time before bed helps with a better night’s sleep for both adults and children. Instead of watching a programme before bed why not try reading a few stories instead or playing some quiet games
Using technology to develop language:
Technology isn’t all bad and can help to start conversations between you and your child.
When watching TV with your child talk about it afterwards. You could ask ‘who?’ ‘where?’ ‘what happened?’ questions which can help to develop their story telling skills.
Try acting out their favourite TV programme getting your child to tell you what to do and what’s happening in the story.
Remember…technology has its advantages and disadvantages but children need some quiet time away from technology to help develop their language and interaction skills.