Is your preschooler getting his very own IPAD or computer this year for the holidays? Exposing your young child to technology can enhance his education unless it takes over his life. Per a study done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, only three out of ten kids ages 8-18 said their parents set boundaries on their use of technology. Don’t let your young child start forming bad media habits now because it will only get worse as he grows older. Implement these guidelines right away to foster healthy media usage in your preschooler:
How to Foster Healthy Media Usage in Your Preschooler
1. Lead by example.
Don’t have the TV on all day. Resist using your cell phone during meals or spending hours on Facebook. Gradually reduce your technology reliance and spend more quality time with your family.
2. Don’t let technology be your babysitter.
Sometimes it’s easy to give your child an IPAD or turn on the TV when he is bored to keep him entertained. Instead interact with your child by reading a book on an e-reader. Try teaching him how to write an email. Play online games that will develop his skills. Watch educational videos together.
3. Ensure your child is doing hands-on offline activities daily.
Is your three to five-year old getting enough play time outside? Is he playing with blocks and board games, drawing and coloring, and trying to read books? Before you buy him an IPAD or other type of media, make real-life activities an integral part of his day.
4. Establish media time limits.
Decide what is the appropriate amount of time for your preschooler to be on TV, a cellphone, IPAD, or computer. Will it be 30 minutes a day? According to Dr. Michael Rich, Director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Boston Hospital, for toddlers and preschoolers, 20 to 30 minutes a day of screen time should suffice.
5. Be skeptical for your child’s sake.
Just because a program is rated “G” for General Audience viewing, it may not be appropriate for your young child. It’s a good idea to preview what your preshcooler is going to view and watch it with her to help her process what she is seeing. You can also access a site called Common Sense Media, a company that helps families make smart media choices. In addition, when selecting online apps, ensure they foster creativity, innovation, and problem solving.
Dr. Michael Rich sums up what your role should be to foster healthy media usage in your preschooler:
“Technology itself doesn’t create problems,” says Dr. Rich. “What matters is what we do with it. Just as you monitor the foods your kids eat, you should introduce quality media when they’re ready, help them think about what they see and hear, and make sure they’re not sacrificing time for homework, physical activity, family, or friends.”
What do you do to foster healthy media usage in your young children?
Chappell Schools of Jacksonville, Florida has been providing child care and preschool learning programs for 55+ years. Our educational programs address the TOTAL child – cognitively, emotionally, physically, and socially. We pride ourselves on being voted one of the “Top 50 For-Profit Child Care Organizations in North America.” Visit one of our eight centers to see how we make learning fun by contacting us at 904.739.1279. To get more child care tips, please “Like” our Facebook page.