Do you let your toddler play with your tablet? It is easy to see why toddlers are attracted to them. They make sounds, and have colors, and stuff moves around when you poke at it. Some have started to wonder if the combination of toddlers and tablets is a good idea. How much screen time is too much?
There are both positives and negatives to allowing your toddler to play with your iPad (or other tablet). That’s exactly what makes it so difficult for parents. If there were only good results, or only negative results, the choice would be simple!
Overall, the general consensus seems to be that when it comes to toddlers and tablets, moderation is key. It is also advisable to ensure the toddler is using the tablet in a way that encourages interaction with actual humans (such as a parent or caregiver).
There are certain ways to allow your toddler to use your tablet in a way that is beneficial. A parent or caregiver should use the tablet with the toddler. Ask your toddler questions about what you see on the screen.
Some suggest that toddlers should have 30 minutes or less of screen time a day. Make the most of it! Choose educational apps for him or her to play. Select the activities that are calming instead of games that are “frenetic” and exciting. Doing so can help prevent your toddler from becoming overstimulated.
The rest of your toddler’s day should be spent interacting with his or her physical environment. They need to explore the “real world” around them, to move their bodies, and to get some sensory interaction with people, pets, and objects.
There are some ways that parents allow toddlers to use tablets that are not beneficial. In general, the tablet should not be used as a pacifier. Your toddler is ready to throw a tantrum in a public place. A “quick fix” is to hand him or her the tablet. Instantly, your toddler becomes a lot more manageable.
Of course, the problem comes when the parent wants to take back the tablet. Typically speaking, toddlers aren’t good at sharing something that they are interested in. Most have yet to learn the skill of “taking turns”. Trying to take back the tablet can cause the toddler to become upset all over again.
Instead, offer your upset toddler his or her favorite stuffed animal as a comfort item. Is your child overstimulated? If possible, take him or her to a quieter, calmer, environment for a little while.
Many people feel that toddlers should not use tablets at the dinner table. Make dinner time a “device free zone” for the whole family. Avoid using the tablet as a way of encouraging a toddler to sit still, and be quiet, when the family is dining out.
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