You may have noticed that over the last month the staff here at the Marshall District Library has been working hard to immerse the public in technology – Specifically tablets. Within the last week we moved an iPad that was originally in the petting zoo over to our Early Literacy Play Area so that our friends ages 0-10 have a chance to play with this device too.
Some may be thinking: “But wait, I come to the library with my kids to get away from technology;” and really you should be because both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity recommend no screen time for children under the age of two. Let’s be honest, while this is the goal, this is not the reality. As much as I would like to say I am the perfect parent, I know my 20-month-old daughter watches too much TV and spends too much time on my smartphone and tablet. But here’s the thing: When she is playing with my devices I can see her learning, having fun and developing gross and fine motor skills. So yes, she does have too much screen time, but she is gaining from it.
The important aspect to my daughter’s screen time is that (most of the time) I am right there by her side interacting with her and discussing what it is she is seeing and doing. Ultimately, interacting with adults is what matters in any child’s development as is outlined in this article.
So instead of shying away from tablets and other devices, adapt how you use it with your child(ren). Remember the Five Early Literacy Practices (Talk, Sing, Read, Write and Play) and incorporate all five into your screen time (we have several apps on our iPad to help you do just this)! I’m not suggesting you spend every waking hour in front of a screen, but do incorporate it into your routines and help your children become proficient in something that is going to be around for the rest of their lives.