Parents, stop feeling guilty. Contrary to what we’ve been told, scientists have found that not all screen time is bad. Children who watch TV and use gadgets in moderation have been found to have better social and emotional well-being.
WHO’s guidelines for children under 5 suggests a combination of reduced screen time and an increase in physical activity:
• Under 1 year: Have no screen time
• 1 year: Screen time is not recommended
• 2-4 years: No more than 1 hour; less is better
Make it an interactive experience
Screen time can actually be healthy. The key is to make it an interactive experience, rather than a passive one that doesn’t require any thinking. Go for apps that get children to create or even do a workout, instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds or binge-watching videos.
For your screen-loving child, offering an e-reader app or an e-book may be one way to shift his or her focus to reading. The plus is that digital books allow you to adjust the font size and use built-in dictionaries to explain unfamiliar words.
Creativity and screentime can co-exist
Smartphones, tablets or computers technology can be used in creative and imaginative ways. What hobbies does your child have? They can use free and easy-to-use blog sites like WordPress,Blogger,Wix and Edublogs to write about their interest in insects, the best book they read recently, sporting topics or post a picture of that scrumptious baked brownie and tell others how they made it.
For that storyteller or Pixar fan in your family, let them try their hand at creating videos, stop motion animation or even dabble in digital photography.
Learn new skills online
If your child needs to work on spelling or multiplication, there are educational apps that can help with the mastery of reading, spelling or times tables. Maybe digital skills are what your child needs; he or she can learn to type with online typing games or get to grips with coding using apps like Scratch Jr or a device like Raspberry Pi to create simple programs or computer games.
There are lots of online resources that can keep kiddo entertained while learning. Get tips on how to crochet, draw cartoons or to cook an omelette through online classes and YouTube videos.
Of course, not all screen time has to be interactive or educational. There’s room to let your child to relax and to enjoy their favourite passive screen time activity – but in small doses. Ultimately, interactive and healthy screen activities can give your child a learning boost and be creative in the process!
This article first appeared in Families for Life article segment at https://familiesforlife.sg/discover-an-article/Pages/How-to-Make-Screen-Time-a-Beneficial-Experience-for-Children.aspx