In the shape of smartphones, tablets, TVs, game consoles, and computers, screens are everywhere in our lives, and touchscreen technology makes it easy for even young babies to engage.
You may not think that access to screens at such a young age is much to worry about. However, research suggests that too much TV or screen time can lead to less time spent being active, and ultimately to unhealthy weight gain in childhood. For this reason, medical associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, advise against media use by children younger than two years of age. It may be best to act now to limit screen time and encourage healthy and active habits that can last into childhood and beyond.
Spend quality time being active
Screens can interfere with the amount of time babies spend interacting with their parents and moving around. If you are often looking at a screen, it’s likely your baby will be as well. Screen time can end up taking the place of time spent doing activities together.
In one recent study, childcare providers believed that babies required less than one hour of activity each day, when, in fact, the guidelines were for at least 90 minutes of daily activity. Having a daily routine that includes interactive playtime encourages your baby’s physical development, building up muscles, and improving coordination—skills needed for crawling and, in time, standing and walking. Building activity into every day is not only fun, but also helps create healthy habits for the future.
Sleep-deprived parents may also be interested to learn that screen-watching can affect both your baby’s nighttime sleep and daytime naps by causing him to take longer to fall asleep and spending less time asleep. So switch off screens for better sleep—for you both.
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