Electronic devices and screen time
Screen time is part of a modern day unescapable reality. Parents are well aware of the detrimental effects of screen time and the impact on young developing minds. With the brains of under 2’s most at risk of mobile electronic devices. Once their developing minds are exposed to these devices their brain wiring is permanently altered. A number of troubling studies connect delayed cognitive development in kids with extended exposure to electronic devices.
Critical early years 0-3
The critical early years period of 0-3 years becomes the permanent foundation upon which all later brain function is built. To develop normally a young brain needs stimuli from outside sources, not electronic devices. These devices provide no positive essential stimuli and so are no benefit and will actually stunt development. It is the ability to process multiple actions simultaneously that young brains do not need.
Electronic devices make children’s cognition and brains lazy as the device does the thinking for them. They dull the frontal lobe and this is the part of the brain that decodes emotion, facial expressions, communication and empathy. Babies that finger swipe at books and magazines are not as cute and clever as you may think. They are looking for instant gratification and it is a sinister effect of dopamine addiction. Not too dissimilar to drug and alcohol addiction. I’m sure that has sent a huge shiver down your spine.
However as with anything that is forbidden it becomes attractive. So instead of no screen time, allow limited screen time once a child is over two. Think an hour, max, of playing with tablets and iPhones each day. Help develop coordination, hone reaction time, and even sharpen language skills.
Why do we need fine motor skills?
Fine motor skills involve small muscles which control the hand, fingers and thumb. These skills allow a child to complete important essential skills e.g. writing, self-feeding and dressing themselves.
5 ways to achieve awesome fine motor skills in the under 5’s
- Introduce pencils and drawing early. An 18 month old should be exposed to and encouraged to hold and draw with a chubby crayon. At 18 months they can grasp it in their hand and scribble. By 3 years old a refined pencil grasp has been achieved. Chalkboards and painting help make fine motor skills fun. Try and draw or paint with your child every day.
- Clapping hands by 7-8 months and tactile nursery rhymes like “Incy wincey spider”, “Round and round the garden”, “This little piggy …” etc. Watch my video with one of my favourites, “The Barramundi song” on Youtube here.
- Cutting and pasting into a scrapbook. Use plastic scissors and an old catalogue or magazine. See Shapeeze in Nurture Parentings online store https://shapeeze.com.au
- Duplo for 18 months to under 3’s and Lego in over 3’s encourage creative and cognitive play. Also building with bricks, small 1 inch ones are best – a 3 year old should be able to build a tower of 10 and an 18 month old a tower of 3. Make it more fun by counting the tower of blocks and naming the colours.
- By 2-3 years a child will be able to: Fold paper in half, draw straight lines and circles, imitate you drawing a cross, turn single pages in a book, snip the edges of paper with scissors (by 30 months), hold crayons using the thumb and fingers, use one hand more often than the other for most activities.