Thursday, September 13, 2012

Screen Time or Sensory TIme?

Is Screen Time good for young children?


Preschool children spend 32 hours a week with screen media on average. For every hour a child under two spends in front of a screen, he or she spends about 50 minutes less interacting with a parent. What’s wrong with this picture? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limited television for children – and discourages it altogether for children under age two. Why limit preschool screen time? According to The Mayo Clinic, the following negative effects can result from too much time in front of a flat screen:

  • Obesity
  • Irregular Sleep: Greater resistance going to bed and falling asleep.
  • Behavioral problems. More likelihood of emotional, social and attention problems. Children who watch excessive amounts of TV are more likely to be bullied and lack good coping and social skills.
  • Impaired academic performance.
  • Violence. Too much exposure to violence on TV and electronic games can desensitize children and result in them accepting violence as a way to solve problems.
  • Less time for outdoor, creative, imaginative and social play.
  • Affects children attention and the ability to deeply focus, problem-solve, and self-regulate.
  • Reduced Parent Time: Parent time is less sustained and focused on their child, especially as their own screen time increases, and also with distracting background noises.
  •  
Mommy with Selective Memory
How Children Learn
Young children are not nearly as interested in flat surfaces as in hands-on exploration and discovery using their five senses and movement. Children are innately wired to learn through play. They eagerly take in information through touch, smell, taste, vision, hearing, and movement and combine the resulting perceptions with prior information, memories and knowledge already stored in the brain. Of course, we know children love to explore by putting things into their mouth to feel or taste. But they also love touching interesting textures, smelling different scents, hearing rhythmic/ rhyming music and words, seeing/observing everything around them, and moving/ interacting in their fascinating world.

Mommy with Selective Memory

I Can Do It!
There are three modes of learning: Auditory (listening), Visual (show me and I’ll understand) and Kinesthetic (touching, feeling, experiencing, moving). Young children are most interested in exploring through kinesthetic means. Play Dr. Mom’s son Henry said, “My body is telling me I NEED to do spin art. Not just my brain, my whole body.”

Provide a naturally curious child with a few inexpensive exploration tools such as a magnifying glass, insect net, and a bug jar. Let children get messy with water, dirt, mud puddles, and sand. Or give them a ball and bat to build muscles, confidence and coordination.

Of course, please don't beat yourself up if your children are watching some television so that you can have a little time to relax or make dinner, finish laundry and the so many things moms need to do. Finding a good balance is desirable.


Would you like a glimpse into Kindergarten? See Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents. Moms of Preschoolers - let a mom and a teacher help save your sanity, one project at a time, including the child development explanations and age appropriate activities in The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn. Both are bestsellers and also available on Barnes & Noble and Kobo. The ebooks are only $3.99.







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8 comments:

  1. very good! I linked it to my Like Mama ~ Like Daughter Facebook page.

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    1. Hanna - Thank you! So good to hear from you! Love your blog.

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  2. I really love this post! I wish we could just outlaw video games....I'm so dreading that phase in life! It seems like it will be impossible to stay away entirely because all their friends will be doing it and they won't want to miss out. Oh well, maybe this message will sink in before that phase in our lives. Thanks for sharing this!!

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    1. Some of the video games portray so much violence - but some are challenging and fun for kids. Kids sure do need breaks from the screen time for many reasons, as I'm sure you realize. Love your blog!

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  3. We have decided that our children will not watch TV on any regular basis. I think IF they watch TV it's maybe 2 hours a week! Yes, I do everything I can to stay away from the TV. I don't even let them on the computer and we will not have video games. It takes a lot of effort to keep my kids busy, but I know I'm doing the right thing!

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    1. Sonda - you are doing the right thing. Your children are having a healthy fun-filled learning experience. You're a great mom and great blogs for helping other moms.

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  4. Susan...this is a fantastic post...I love all the reasons that TV and other screen alternatives are not the best choice for young children. Spending time with a parent is so crucial to proper relationship development.

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    1. Thank you so much Vivian. Love your book - so many wonderful ideas for children to learn.

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