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According to experts, limiting tech or screen time for our kids is necessary. Then again, you may be tempted to resort to distracting your babies with YouTube videos or educational DVDs for toddlers too often. It has been proven time and again that this can have consequences.
While these videos aren’t bad per se, incorporating them into your child’s developmental journey should be deferred until they’re a little older. Today, we’ll discuss when and how you should introduce educational videos to older youngsters and what to use in their place in the meantime.
How Educational Videos Can Impact Babies
It seems like there’s a never-ending supply of educational videos promoted to stimulate babies’ intellectual development. However, the science-backing of these claims is about as solid as a rock molded from Play-Doh. In fact, these clips may even yield the opposite of what they were marketed for and stunt language growth rather than enhance it.
This possible result has less to do with the videos themselves and alludes more to the fact that excessive screen time reduces valuable one-on-one time with parents or guardians. Babies learn best through human interaction and not through technological interplay.
Similar risks could befall youngsters who get too much television time. There has also been a proven link between excessive tech time and poor school performance, obesity, and attention problems in older kids. Thus, the AAP or American Academy of Pediatrics discourages screen time altogether for babies under 24 months.
Furthermore, science claims that educational programming doesn’t impact babies’ minds like some parents think it does. Before the age of two, little ones tend to have trouble understanding these videos.
Don’t Be Like Some Parents Today
As you may have noticed, many aren’t taking heed of the AAP’s warning about excessive screen time for children under two. Some parents allow their kids to have more than two hours of tech time daily or have a TV installed in the nursery. There are other ways to distract your kids that don’t involve potentially harming their development and actually align with their learning capacity.
Keeping a television on in the background can be as damaging to youngsters. Even when no one’s watching, it exposes babies to an environment lacking one-on-one interactions with caregivers.
What You Should Be Doing With Your Kids Instead
At the right age, your child may gain much from educational videos. For now, however, stick to talking and interacting directly with your babies. Encourage independent play to bump up their IQs and prepare their minds for when they do reach the age where they can safely grasp an educational YouTube stream.
Here’s what to do instead of reaching for that TV remote or streaming Peppa Pig on YouTube:
- Reading Books: There’s no better way to establish a bond with and educate your little one than by reading books together or telling bedtime stories. Doing this consistently can most certainly enhance brain and language development.
- Singing Songs: Singing songs to your youngster can make for fun parent-child bonding while boosting your child’s brainpower and language skills.
- Bringing Out Your Inner Child: You were once a child too, and there’s no better person to share that side with than your offspring. Make funny faces, do goofy dances, read dialogue as if you were the actual character or animal you are reading about. There are many ways to help your baby develop that can also bring a huge smile to their face.
Of course, there may be a limit to how frequently a parent can play as their child’s entertainer. After all, you may need to attend a zoom meeting, pick up your other kids from school, or start dinner.
Sometimes, a well-deserved break is in order too, and that’s completely fine. In these scenarios, what may not be fine is resorting to screen time as the solution when it’s not ideal to do so.
Before giving in to the temptation, consider other interactive learning activities that involve one-on-one time but don’t take much out of you. Setting your baby on a mat with stacking rings, toy instruments, or building blocks should keep him occupied for the next few minutes while you rest. Though keep your eyes open, as young ones can be quite unpredictable.
How To View Educational Videos With Your Little One
If it does come to the point when you need to call on the tube for help, take heed of these viewing measures:
- Keep viewing to a minimum and choose commercial-free clips and videos as much as possible.
- View the program you intend to have your baby watch or co-view it with your little one.
- Provide a running commentary of the video’s content.
- Discuss what the pictures on screen are.
So, Do Educational Videos Work?
They do when your baby is at the right age. A child younger than 24 months is not likely to grasp a video’s content, so that’s less one-on-one time with your child for nothing. Not to mention, excessive screen time can also have ill effects on brain and language development.That isn’t to say educational videos don’t have their uses for parents. When used properly and sparingly (preferably, as a last resort) on children under two years, these clips should offer a safe distraction when you need one.