Making Time for Connection: The Importance of One-on-One Time with Your Babies
As screen time becomes routine in our society, it is extremely important to prioritize face-to-face time to play with your baby and support healthy development.
Phones, tablets, and computers are essential to our daily lives as parents. Still, it is imperative to interact with your babies without the use of screens. Studies show a baby's brain typically requires about 18 months to develop before being capable of associating the symbols on a screen with their real-world equivalents. The most crucial factor for infants and toddlers to learn is engagement with people and their environment.
Simply looking at your baby supports their ability to recognize faces and allows them to build their memory. Additionally, making different facial expressions with your baby can cause them to imitate the expressions and support their problem solving skills. Characters on screens cannot allow babies to develop essential skills that one-on-one visual interaction can support.
In addition to this visual connection, actual verbal communication has significant effects on babies’ development. Having “conversations” with your child and pausing teaches them verbal cues about when to speak. Also, singing songs to your baby allows them to learn rhythm and build human connections with real voices that don’t arise when listening to a screen. Having the TV or screens on, even if it is just in the background, causes less communication and delays babies’ language development.
Facial expressions, skin contact, tone of voice, and body language between an infant and parent is the foundation for a child’s growth. Exposing children to screen media before the age of 18 months can have enduring adverse effects on their language proficiency, reading abilities, and short-term memory. Extensive screen time can also contribute to difficulties with sleep and attention. With all these harmful implications of screen usage for babies, it is important to limit the amount of time your child is watching online media.
However, small doses of screen time for children can be beneficial depending on the content. When parents are busy and don’t have time to give one-on-one interaction, educational programs can help children learn. But, online media regardless of the content does not aid healthy development as human engagement does. The first few months of an infant’s life encompass major learning and growth, and parent to child engagement is arguably the best way to promote healthy development. To monitor your parental engagement, trust Elora, the first AI based baby monitor created to track their happiness, safety, and well-being.