Abingdon, Md. (PRWEB) May 19, 2011
There’s no denying that technology is here to stay. A study from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that children ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven hours per day using smart phones, computers, TVs and other sorts of devices.
Given that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children older than two have no more than two hours per day of screen time, this is an alarming statistic. It is now more important than ever that parents temper their children’s use of technology and instill good habits at an early age.
“Children today, have adapted naturally to using hand-held games in the car, playing with fun “Apps” on a phone or even watching a video at home that is educational,” said Claire Haas, vice president of education for Kiddie Academy, a national child care and education franchisor. “While the two-hour goal of daily screen time might seem difficult to meet, parents need to strive to keep that human connection with their children and stimulate their brains in other ways. The best way to do this is to start early before there are any habits to break.”
To help curb children’s screen time at an early age, Kiddie Academy's Haas recommends that parents utilize the Four M’s:
•Monitoring – Parents should monitor their child’s time and activities on the computer. Become familiar and interact with websites before recommending them for your child, so you know if it is appropriate for their age and interests. Talk with your child about the purpose of what he wants to watch on TV or what she wants to do on the computer. It is fine if the response is “I want to play a game,” but by talking about the reasons, you will help your child become more mindful of her screen time.
•Moderation – As the saying goes, all good things, including screen time, should be done in moderation. Two hours per day can go quickly, so you want to teach your child to be aware of how much time he is spending in front of a screen, so he can begin to make decisions on how to use that time. Give your child the choice of watching the TV prior to going to dinner or playing on his gaming device during the wait at the restaurant.
•Model good practices – If you want your child to turn off the TV while you sit on the couch with your laptop, or if you regularly pull out your phone at the dinner table, you are sending mixed messages. We are often so caught up with our own technology use that we forget to model the best behavior ourselves. Meal time is a great opportunity for you to interact with your child and model appropriate social interactions. Turn off your phone and television, put the computers away, and sit down together for engaging conversation. This can help you disengage and relax, too!
•Maintain a balance – Technology has certainly become part of our daily routine. The important tip to remember is to fit it into the routine, rather than letting it become the routine. Evaluate the balance of your routine to make sure that more time is spent with your children – walking outside, riding bikes, cooking meals together, talking about events of the day or even playing brain games in the car – than in front of a screen.
For more education and parenting tips, sign up for the Parenting Essentials newsletter at http://www.kiddieacademy.com/newsletter.
About Kiddie Academy®
For more than 30 years, Kiddie Academy® has been a leader in education-based child care. The company serves families and their children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old, offering full time care, before- and after-school care and summer camp programs. Kiddie Academy’s proprietary Life Essentials® curriculum, supporting programs, methods, activities and techniques help prepare children for school and for life. Kiddie Academy is using the globally recognized AdvancED accreditation system, signifying its commitment to quality education and the highest standards in child care. Kiddie Academy is an official partner of the nonprofit organization, First Book, and is dedicated to supporting children’s literacy. For more information, visit http://www.kiddieacademy.com.
About Kiddie Academy® Franchising
Kiddie Academy Domestic Franchising is based in Maryland and has over 90 academies located in 24 states, including four company-owned locations. Approximately 70 additional academies are in development, with 15 to 20 new locations slated to open each year. For more information, visit http://www.kiddieacademyfranchising.com.