What is too much screen time for our children?

The importance of learning by play and how screen time has affected our children.

The importance of creative play for children is can be underestimated. By exciting a child’s imagination can promote a great sense of achievement. Play helps a child build confidence, feel loved, happy and safe, develop 5 main skills of development, learning to care for others and their surrounding environment and healthy brain development .

Children make connections in their brains as they go through different experiences. The more they experience these connections, the stronger they become. For example; the more social connections they make, the more confident they become in social situations. Play is like fireworks going off in the brain; on a physical, emotional and social level. Therefore, children create the foundations of their adult brain through play as a child.

Unstructured free play can be the best type of play for a child. Play that just happens can allow them to use their imagination, discover their own interests, etc. Sometimes they just may want to play on their own, knowing that you are around is enough security to let their imaginations run wild!

Play is a cherished part of childhood that offers important developmental benefits. However; it’s argued that multiple factors are fundamentally reducing children’s ability to reap the benefits of play. One can’t help but wonder if digital devices, structured days and a greater increase in apartment living are contributing to the restriction of our children’s ability to learn by play.

With mobile devices so readily accessible and at our finger tips, does this lifestyle affect our children? According to Raising Children’s Network , children over the age of 2 should have up to 1 hour of screen time a day. Children under the age of 2 should only be exposed to screen time via video chatting (ie; skype) for a short amount of time.

When we think of cognitive thinking, Psychology Today states that a smart device does the thinking for the child and as a result, their cognitive thinking becomes weak . Unlike a Mother’s voice reading to her child where they can process her voice into words, visualise complete pictures and make a mental effort to follow the story line.

Similarly, when we think of the social aspect, we know that smart devices do nothing for building relationships, developing social interactions or securing that personal connection we’re all hard-wired to do. The brain’s frontal lobe creates these connections for us and this happens in early childhood. Of course, we know that technology will inevitably be beneficial to our children in their future, but with clear boundaries for the virtual world and the real one.

In our house it is a daily challenge to remember to keep our phones in the kitchen until our toddler is asleep. If the phone rings then the conversation happens in the kitchen. With my husband’s demanding job, my work largely driven by social platforms and it being my only connection to the outside world as a ‘stay at home mum’ it can be very tempting to have our phones ‘in-hand’. Until my Mum-Instinct kicks in, ‘You only get this time with her now. Life is short and work will be there tomorrow. Be present, kiss those chubby cheeks you so lovingly created and play.”

Has screen time affected your child’s play?
If prevention is greater than cure then ensure your child is learning by play at Duck & Play! Term 3 starts soon. See our tailored based program here to understand the benefits you and your child can gain from.

We’d love to know your thoughts on how play has evolved with the increasing consumption of screens present in our environments. Comment below!

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