Technology Tips for Smart Families

October 19, 2022 General /Family

Today, screens are everywhere, whether it’s a smartphone, TV, tablet, or video game console. Screens are inviting, fun, and even addictive, so it’s easy to spend too much time with them. And let’s face it; a little screen time can help you get dinner on the table! But sadly, screen time may hurt your child’s health.

Attention and Mood

Screen time raises your child’s risk of attention problems, depression and anxiety. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a growing problem, which may be partly due to children’s heavy media use. One study showed that the more hours of TV watched at age one and three years, the more likely a child would have symptoms of ADHD at age seven.

Weight Gain

Screen time may cause your child to gain too much weight, especially if a TV is in their room. Spending time in front of a screen means less time being active.

Sleep Problems

Time in front of a screen makes it harder for your child to sleep at night and to sleep enough. Poor sleep habits affect mood, behavior, and learning. Even “background” TV is associated with shorter sleep time and sleeping problems.

Social Skills

Children who watch TV spend less time playing and interacting with others. Screen time cuts down on time spent talking, which affects language development and how well a child gets along with others. Children need lots of “eye-to-eye” contact with a parent or caregiver to learn how to talk, listen, and how to read emotions on a person’s face. These skills are important for getting along with others.

Screen Time and Brain Development

Research shows that learning from the real world is better than from a screen, especially for kids under three. While preschoolers can learn from some educational shows, screen viewing for kids under two can have lasting negative effects. It can decrease language development, reading skills and short-term memory. Even when TV is on as “background noise,” it can cause parents to spend less time talking with their children, and children to be less focused on play. In homes where the TV is on most of the time, children spend less time reading or being read to and are more likely to not be able to read.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that screen time be avoided by children under 2 and that older children limit screen time to 1 to 2 hours daily.

STEP-BY-STEP to SMART MEDIA

You may think that your child needs to be entertained all the time, but they don’t. Kids need some time with nothing to do to use their imagination and build their brains. In fact, your toddler will learn much more from banging on pots and pans and talking to you while you cook dinner, than watching a screen.

25 Screen Free Activities

Here’s a list of 25 “screen free” activities to help your child develop their brain and build healthy relationships. Pick an activity below and get started today!
1. Read a book out loud 2. Play a game 3. Do a puzzle 4. Build a tower of blocks 5. Blow bubbles
6. Look at photos 7. Play some word and rhyming games 8. Sing a song or tap the rhythm of a song together 9. Play dress-up 10. Draw, color or paint on paper
11. Have a picnic 12. Make some handmade gifts 13. Go to the park 14. Go to the pool, the beach, the lake, or the river 15. Cook dinner together
16. Go outside and play 17. Lie down and look at the clouds 18. Throw or roll a ball 19. Take a walk 20. Dance
21. Make a fort out of blankets 22. Make puppets out of old socks 23. Have a puppet show 24. Make homemade play dough 25. Play hide and go seek

Side-Lying Hold

  1. For the right breast, lie on your right side with your baby facing you.
  2. Pull your baby close. Your baby’s mouth should be level with your nipple.
  3. In this position, you can cradle your baby’s back with your left arm and support yourself with your right arm and/or pillows.
  4. Keep loose clothing and bedding away from your baby.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Cross-Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, use your left arm to hold your baby’s head at your right breast and baby’s body toward your left side. A pillow across your lap can help support your left arm.
  2. Gently place your left hand behind your baby’s ears and neck, with your thumb and index finger behind each ear and your palm between baby’s shoulder blades. Turn your baby’s body toward yours so your tummies are touching.
  3. Hold your breast as if you are squeezing a sandwich. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  4. As your baby’s mouth opens, push gently with your left palm on baby’s head to help them latch on. Make sure you keep your fingers out of the way.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Clutch or “Football” Hold

  1. For the right breast, hold your baby level, facing up, at your right side.
  2. Put your baby’s head near your right nipple and support their back and legs under your right arm.
  3. Hold the base of your baby’s head with your right palm. A pillow underneath your right arm can help support your baby’s weight.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Bring baby to you instead.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, cradle your baby with your right arm. Your baby will be on their left side across your lap, facing you at nipple level.
  2. Your baby’s head will rest on your right forearm with your baby’s back along your inner arm and palm.
  3. Turn your baby’s tummy toward your tummy. Your left hand is free to support your breast, if needed. Pillows can help support your arm and elbow.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Laid-Back Hold

  1. Lean back on a pillow with your baby’s tummy touching yours and their head at breast level. Some moms find that sitting up nearly straight works well. Others prefer to lean back and lie almost flat.
  2. You can place your baby’s cheek near your breast, or you may want to use one hand to hold your breast near your baby. It’s up to you and what you think feels best.
  3. Your baby will naturally find your nipple, latch, and begin to suckle.

This hold is useful when: