Keeping your toddler busy can be time-consuming.
At a young age, it’s easy to hand over a tablet to keep them occupied so that you can have time to finish the laundry or get dinner on the table.
My guest today warns about limited screen time for toddlers. It can cause a lot more problems that can have lasting effects.
Luckily my guest gives some tips on educational activities that will keep your little one busy and help them learn.
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The problem with unlimited screen time for toddlers
Although it is easy to give your toddler your phone with what seems like an educational app, you may find it harder and harder to take your phone away without the meltdowns and tantrums.
Our brains are wired to release dopamine, a feel-good chemical, into our bodies whenever we do something that gives us pleasure.
The same dopamine pathway is activated whenever your child uses the phone.
The dopamine is the pathway in the brain that releases those feel-good hormones so you want to have whatever you did again.
Things that can cause the dopamine pathway to be release are eating a delicious piece of cake or playing a game and winning on your phone.
Both of these activities release dopamine into our bodies.
The problem is, the more that the dopamine is released into our bodies, the more our bodies become desensitized to it.
So you end up having to do more of the activity to get the same initial dopamine release.
It is easier for adults to regulate activities because we have a prefrontal cortex.
Unfortunately, kids don’t develop a prefrontal cortex until their 20’s. As a result, that has a hard time regulating screentime.
So they will keep playing with the device to keep getting the dopamine release, which can lead to phone addiction.
Stimulation from digital games on a tablet is fast-paced.
Plus, they have lots of colors so that they attract people, especially little kids. But all of these fast-paced, hyper rousing games cause our brains to become used fast-paced and lots of color.
As a result, kids are going to want that high level of stimulation all the time.
Overstimulation can lead to short attention spans or the inability to focus on a simple task, like sitting in class or reading a book or doing a chore.
All of this task seems boring to a child compared to a device with a game on it.
Opportunity costs are something that you would typically associate with economics.
But, the opportunity cost in its simplest definition is when you miss out on something because you choose to do something else.
If a preschooler decides to do play on their tablet, then they’re missing out on other things like interacting with other people or developing bonds with other people.
Instead, they’re focused on that screen, and they’re missing out on playing outside.
They’re also missing now on developing their speech and vocabulary because when you’re talking with a person face to face, hearing like words or seeing lips move physically.
They’re also missing out on being bored. Think about when we were little and our parents didn’t have screens or anything. We had to be bored.
And we had to create our own imaginative world and be creative with how to entertain ourselves.
So they’re missing out on all of those things when they’re choosing a screen instead of other things.
How can you introduce technology so that it is not addicting?
The American Pediatrics Association recommends that no screens before two years old.
Because 90% of your child’s brain develops before the age of five, limiting screen time is ideal.
There are things called tech vegetables, which enhance learning instead of being a teaching tool.
Also, Facetime is a good tech vegetable because your child is interacting with another person even though it is on a screen.
Autumn suggests using tech vegetables on a desktop computer. You can’t travel with the desktop, and your kid can take a desktop to the restaurant car, so it makes it a little easier to say no, we can’t play with that anymore.
Some things are called tech candy because they are hard to limit. These are things like Mine Craft, YouTube videos, and Candy Crush.
Some ideas on activities that we can do with their kids that don’t involve
Anything that involves using the five senses allows kids to build connections, and their brains are activities that you want to encourage.
Through experiences when they’re using those five senses, relationships are being made in their mind or strengthening those connections.
So things like asking them to help you cook dinner is excellent.
They’re building those connections when they’re using their hands and their smelling and there touching and tasting the food.
Reading books, building with Legos, even doing chores around the house like folding clothes or sweeping, are building connections and great ways toe to get them involved.
Also, playing outside or being bored at a restaurant and making them come up with an activity drawing things is good too.
Or you can create a busy bag. These are bags with activities that your child can do in the car or at a restaurant.
Or download Autumn’s Ultimate Mom Saver Bundle. It is complete with six low prep activities and coloring pages to keep your little one busy.
Autumn and is a wife and mom of 3. Autumn is a former school teacher but decided to stay at home with her children once she became a mom.
With her teaching background, Autumn put together activities to help her kids learn their ABC’s and colors.
Her husband saw how much time and effort she was putting in and suggested that she make a book of activities.
Now Autumn has several activity books that you can download on her site to help with keeping them busy.
To learn more about Autumn or to get more of her activity book, visit her website, Best Mom Ideas. You can also find her on Instagram and Facebook if you want to connect on social media.
Links mentioned in this episode
- Math Blasters
- Busy Bags
- Ultimate Mom Saver Bundle
- Best Mom Ideas
- Instagram – @bestmomideas
- Facebook – Best Mom Ideas
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