Our little ones are surrounded by screens - TVs, computers, tablets, games consoles and smartphones.
While digital technology can be a useful tool to support learning, too much screen time can have a negative impact on children’s academic achievement, physical health and emotional development and lead to poor sleep patterns.
So how can we achieve a balance?
Here are some tips for taming technology use in your family:
- Although many reading and story apps are available, children learn best when reading with a ‘real’ person. Words for Life has lots of fun ideas and resources to help you and your child enjoy books together
- Children absorb new words when they are using all of their senses. Go for a walk and talk about all the colours and details you can see around you, describing the different sounds and smells
- If children are playing and talking, a bright, noisy TV is very distracting. Avoid having it on in the background
- Encourage creative play, for example making dens, or incorporating everyday objects like cardboard boxes or laundry baskets as part of games
- Research shows that families eating together around the table helps boost children’s vocabularies and develops their story telling skills. Use dinner times as an opportunity to talk about the highs and lows of your day, to celebrate achievements and make plans
- Rather than asking children general questions, it can help to prompt with verbal choices or comments. For example, ‘Did you write about pirates or the jungle today?’ or ‘Miss Smith said you were learning about pirates today.’
The adults and teens in the household also need to play their part in reducing the amount of time spent on phones and games consoles as this will have a positive impact on the younger members of the family too!