### Optimizing Screen Time for Infants and Young Children

In the initial two years of a child’s life, a significant portion of brain development occurs. This underscores the importance of encouraging infants and toddlers to explore their environment and engage in diverse sensory activities. Interacting and playing with others is a key way for children to expand their understanding of the world.

To prevent excessive screen time, experts advise limiting children’s exposure to screens. While it can be challenging in today’s tech-savvy world, it is essential to create boundaries to minimize screen time for young children.

Determining the Threshold for Excessive Screen Time

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends restricting screen time to no more than two hours per day for infants under 18 months. An exception to this rule is video calls with family members or friends, which are considered valuable social interactions.

Between 18 and 24 months, children can engage in supervised screen time with a caregiver to reinforce learning. For children aged 2 to 3 years, up to one hour of educational TV content per day is deemed acceptable.

Guidelines for Introducing Toddlers to Screen Time

  • Supervise screen time activities with young children. Engage in educational games or discussions about age-appropriate TV shows or videos together.

  • Research and select educational apps or games carefully before introducing them to your child. Not all apps deliver on their educational promises. Consult educators and pediatricians for recommendations. Preview the content before sharing it with your child.

  • Ensure your child has ample non-screen time for play and creativity. Physical play is crucial for children’s development. Allocate time for hands-on activities and social interactions. Encourage daily physical exercise.

  • Avoid screen exposure at least an hour before bedtime. Keep electronic devices, including TVs, out of the bedroom.

  • Lead by example. Turn off screens when not in use, including TVs. Minimize distractions during interactions with your child by refraining from using your phone or having screens on in the background.

If you have any concerns about your child’s screen time, consult with your healthcare provider for guidance.

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