Equipment, Tech & Toys

What Can I Do to Limit My Toddler’s Screen Time?

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It’s 2015 and screens are everywhere around us. From laptops to televisions to increasingly addictive smartphones and other similar devices, it seems our lives are now governed by the 32 gigabytes of storage memory of your mobile. But what does this mean for our children?

Dr. Fran Walfish, a family psycho-therapist from Los Angeles recommends that children under the age of 2 should not have any exposure to any devices including regular television. She also elaborates that preschoolers should be limited to 30 minutes, and kindergartners 45 minutes, with supervision at all times. Cut your toddler’s screen-time in half with these helpful tips.

Be a good role model: It’s been a long-known fact that children learn the best from the actions of a person, especially a parent or role model. So if we think it’s okay to be swiping on our tablets for hours on end, the little ones will not even hesitate to ask. Of course, there are times when things just need to be done and grown-ups do need their toys to finish up their grown-up responsibilities but a toddler is too young to understand this.

Go to a park or two: Not only does this take up time they could be in front a screen but also promotes physical activity and family bonding. Games like tag or frolicking around the playground might eliminate some possibility that the toddler develop sedentary habits. There might even be a few things to teach while you’re out there too, especially in places like KL’s Butterfly Park. Lucky for you, we’ve already done the legwork and compiled a list of the best parks for families.

Play physical games at home: Even if you cannot go anywhere, there are a number of physical games that can be played from the comfort of your own home like tag, hide-and-seek, or a scavenger hunt. It’s all about filling in the time with another more engaging activity instead of only swiping away on the smartphone.

Go on an adventure!: What better way to teach your toddler about the world than to explore it first-hand. Stimulate your child’s curiosity beyond the screen with this list which is ripe with activities that range from free movies and cultural performances to more outdoorsy adventures, all within the Klang Valley.

Warn them: Often times, abrupt interruption can lead to temper tantrums. One way to ease the separation from screen-time is by letting the child know, he or she has only a little time left before it’s off to do other things. This allows the child to still continue playing for the remainder of the time with the knowledge that he or she should wrap things up.

Get an app: It is quite ironic on having to rely on an app to keep the kids away from using other apps. There are ones that automatically power-off given a set time like Kid Time for iOS and KIDOZ for Android.  Keep in mind that there are also a number of apps on smart devices that are incredibly educational and fun at the same time. Regulating exposure is just as important as regulating content. If you’re planning on downloading a few, we recommended those that are age-appropriate, provide achievable goals and lessons which are fun and can be involved with parents.

Image Credit: Flickr user LandoCol.

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