Healthy screen time habits for preschoolers

This is a sticky subject for some because modern technology can make for a rather intellectually stimulating and convenient babysitter from time to time, and young children can actually learn a lot through the ever-growing selection of educational programs, apps and games on offer.

The best course of action is usually a balance between ensuring you only choose high quality learning apps and media for your child, and putting sensible limits on how much screen time they get in general.

There are certainly benefits from controlled exposure to the new digital world we live in. As with anything, the key is moderation. Government guidelines have always suggested that children under 2 years should avoid screen time altogether – screen time being any activity involving TV’s, tablets, smartphones, laptops and such. But now parents, and some preschools, are beginning to recognise that this can sometimes be difficult and even counterintuitive. For example, is a video call with overseas relatives screen time or quality family time? This is not a question that could have been considered when many of today’s parents were preschoolers, but is now very valid, and requires us to use our sense of the common variety! (We’d go with ‘quality family time’ for that one, by the way)

Some centres specialising in before-school-care are now integrating apps and tablet technology into their teaching methods. Parents increasingly use screens and apps to manage work and family life, and older siblings will use digital tech in the company of their younger siblings. With all of this screen-based activity becoming such an inevitable and integral part of our daily family lives, screen time will need to be monitored more intuitively.

With the explosion of digital devices on the market, we have seen a rise in the production of alphabetical and numerical teaching apps, reading apps and apps that focus on cognitive development, language skills and even music and art. Digital tech should never, and hopefully will never, replace the one-on-one interaction that a child experiences in an early learning centre or playschool, but if we can learn to use it for its potential as quality teaching aids we may be able to benefit from this tech surge.

The Cherry Bridge Station centres offer a consistent plan of play filled education that encourages everything good about non-screen time! They offer age-appropriate educational programs, separate education rooms for each age group, healthy and nutritious meals, and qualified, dedicated educators.

Maybe with options like this on offer, we can all worry a bit less and enjoy a little quality screen time with our little learners!

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