Have you ever sat your child down in front of a children’s video so that you could have some time to go and get dinner on the table? Probably; most American parents have, but recent guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest this might not always be a good idea. The guidelines recommend that children under the age of two should have no regular screen time, while children 2-5 should be limited to one hour or less per day. The guideline references studies that show that small children learn much more effectively from live interactions, and that habits of longer screen time exposure can contribute to childhood obesity, sleep problems, and developmental delays.
There is no need to throw away your TV and or tablet yet, however. The guidelines do recognize that there can be educational benefits when children and parents watch or play on screen media together. If the parent and child are interacting in a positive way, the child is learning.
Of course, reading with your young child is one of the best ways to develop good early literacy skills in small children. Talking, singing, writing and playing together are also important. If you are a parent/guardian of a 2-3 year old and would like to learn more about fun and creative early literacy activities, you might consider attending one of the Library’s Parent/Child Early Literacy Workshops.