Reading and Screen Time: Finding a Healthy Balance For Young Children and Tips To Explore
In recent years, technology has been expanding rapidly. Thus, most aspects of society evolve around screens and social media. Education is included in the digital expansion, meaning that much of the traditional learning and reading that people have taken part in for centuries is quickly being taken over by screen time.
So, how can you help your child develop their reading skills while also allowing them to enjoy their time on a digital device? First, let’s look into why it is important to find this balance.
The Effects of Screen Time on Child Development
Screen time plays a crucial role in child development. A study from the National Library of Medicine shows that there are negative effects on the cognitive results of a child that result from screen media use. An increased exposure to screens at an early age can negatively affect cognitive abilities and academic performance later in life. Excessive screen time has also shown to lead to socio-emotional developmental issues, some of which include depression, anxiety, sleep problems, aggressive behavior, emotional comprehension impairment, and other issues.
While there are significant issues regarding child development that can result from screen time, studies have also found that there are ways that screen media usage can enhance children’s cognitive development. Screens can potentially enhance children’s education and learning. Children have access to an array of educational tools and resources on the Internet.
Setting Time Limits on Screen Time
Since there are both positive and negative impacts on children’s development that can result from excessive screen time, it is important to set time limits on screen usage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the ideal discretionary screen time limits for children aged 3 to 7 years old range from about 30 minutes to one hour per day. It is imperative that parents monitor the devices that their kids use in order to prevent them from spending an excessive amount of time looking at screens. Most devices have parental controls that can be enabled, which has allowed many parents to set time limits on their children’s electronic devices.
It can also be helpful to set limitations on when and where your child is allowed to use an electronic device. One way to do this is for parents to discourage their children from looking at screens while they are eating or in a discussion with another person. This can also assist children in understanding how to become more engaged with others in conversations. It can also set a foundation for building healthy habits in your child’s future, as they will learn the importance of keeping work and home life separate from each other. It is also imperative that children do not look at screens right before their bedtime. Looking at screens within an hour
before going to bed can contribute to a worse quality of sleep, so it could be helpful not to allow electronic devices in your child’s bedroom as they are getting ready to go to bed.
It is important to set aside time for reading.
Parents and teachers alike must put in the work to bring a healthy balance of screen time and reading time to the lives of children. Encouraging kids to read is imperative in helping their development and it can improve their lives in an abundance of ways!
One way to incorporate more reading time into a child’s life is to make it into a routine. Some parents set aside 30 minutes for their child to read a book just before falling asleep. Others might have reading time with their child right after dinner. Setting aside a specific slot of time each day for reading with their child can help kids understand that this is a crucial part of their daily tasks. After a while, reading will become part of their routine, just like brushing their teeth and eating breakfast.
Screen time is not always the answer for boredom.
It can be easy and convenient to give a child a screen to entertain them, especially as a busy parent. However, this doesn’t always have to be the solution. Providing children with books to read can be a positive way for children to spend their time and exercise their minds. Plus, reading can be lots of fun!
Picture books are made to keep young children engaged in what they are reading. These books are filled with bright and colorful illustrations that are correlated with the story. Additionally, children’s books often implement stories that teach kids important lessons in a digestible way. For example, the book The Lonely Zebra by C.M. Harris introduces children to the topics of kindness, empathy, and standing up for others all while incorporating fun and beautiful illustrations that capture the attention of young readers. The Lonley Zebra by C.M. Harris
While it can be tempting to give a child an electronic device as a solution to their boredom, this should not become a habit. So, what can you do if your kids continuously complain about being bored? The truth is, boredom is not such a bad thing! When a child is bored, they are forced to use their creative minds in order to find ways to entertain themselves. This helps them develop their minds and adds to a more fulfilling life.
Digital Reading and Traditional Reading
We are living in an age where technology is all around us. This also means that reading is more convenient than ever before! E-books can be a go-to option for reading if you don’t have much space for physical books. They can also be a great alternative for traditional reading if you are constantly on-the-go. However, research has shown that children comprehend more of the information in traditional reading as opposed to digital reading. Kids also retain a greater amount of information in traditional books because it engages more of our senses. For example, when reading physical books, you have to turn every page. Screens are not all bad. In fact, there are many ways we can utilize new technology to help our children learn and grow. The important part of navigating the digital age is understanding how to find a healthy balance with the time that is spent on digital devices and the time that is spent partaking in other activites.