October 28, 2021
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under the age of two should avoid digital media altogether, with the exception of the occasional video chat with family. While children two to five years old, should have no more than one hour per day. It isn’t the end of the world if your preschooler or school-age child engages in some screen time, just make sure to set limits. Instead, encourage your child to spend time playing with friends or siblings, reading, going for walks, or playing outside.
It is important to know what your children are doing and who they are talking to online. Sit with your children while they’re online, and participate in what they are watching, reading, and doing. Help to facilitate and participate in their learning and let them know that they can always talk with you about anything, including what they see online. The more you interact with your children during screen time, the better.
The app that your child loves may claim to be “educational” but, what are they really learning as they swipe across the screen? Technology can give children the freedom to discover and create but only if the tools they are using encourage critical-thinking skills. Be sure to check out reviews, like those on Common Sense Media, to make sure those favorite online apps and games are age-appropriate and put children in the driver’s seat.
Our digital footprints can last a long time. Talk with your children about how their posts influence people’s opinions of them, both good and bad. Model good online behavior for your children by teaching them to think critically about what they see and read, and where it came from. No matter how young or old we are, we can all use a reminder to stop and think before reacting to something we saw or heard from a friend, whether it’s on or offline.
Set designated tech-free times such as mealtime, family time, and bedtime. These are all excellent times to put the screens down and be fully present. It is not enough to just turn down the volume and keep the screen on in the background. Instead, turn off your electronics and encourage everyone in your family to engage with one another the old-fashioned way. Tell each other about your day, play a game or other fun family activity, you never know where the conversation may lead.
Together, we can teach children how to be smart and safe while they’re online. Keeping an open discussion about online activity builds respectful, caring, and supportive relationships that help our children grow and thrive.
At Les Enfants, our staff is dedicated to helping our students build a solid foundation to succeed in life. Contact us to schedule a tour and learn more about our preschool programs at (201) 592-6695.