​How to manage screen time for young kids during coronavirus

Author: one tough job

No matter your child’s age, we know we are all relying on screen time for that much-needed break during the day. That’s a reality of our new normal of parenting during coronavirus. We encourage all parents to do what they need to do to keep their kids safe and healthy. Here are some ideas on how to maximize the benefits of screen time for young children.

View content together. All technology is best when adults are involved. Viewing content with your child can even help to support early literacy skills and boost empathy.

Ask questions to engage your child and build language:

  • "Tell me about this."
  • "What would happen if..."
  • "Where is this character going?"

Be curious. Learn about the programs and sites your child is using; have them teach you about what they’re doing.

Break activities up into 15-minute bites: Children, especially kids ages three to seven (3-7) don’t have long attention spans. Spacing our activities during the day will also help to encourage your child’s interest in other activities.

Balance screen time with other activities. Set aside time for indoor activities with your toddler or your preschooler. Get outdoors once a day, if possible.

Think of technology screens as windows into the world. Use online content and technology to augment real-world activities: ‘visit’ a zoo or aquarium’s live feed; make a video or photo collage and book about the pets in your home and animals you see on a nature walk.

If you have other helpful tips on how parents can manage and maximize screen time with their kids, please comment below.

*Adapted with permission from A Conversation with Dr. Marina Bers* about Young Learners, Technology, and Learning at Home.

Marina UmaschiBers is a professor and chair at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development and an adjunct professor in the Computer Science Department at Tufts University. Read her full biography here.

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