Certain kinds of digital tools can support family interactions. Using video chat (Skype, Facetime, etc.) a
It's important to support children's healthy development through co-viewing and co-playing.
Children as young as 18 months may be able to learn from digital media when co-viewing or co-playing with an engaged adult (although additional research is necessary to support this recommendation). It is important that parents answer and ask questions about the material they are co-viewing, point out important concepts, and blend the content they are viewing together into their daily lives and routines. By performing these actions, parents can create a structure to support children's learning from digital material. Through dialogue and interactions, parents can encourage their child's cognitive, linguistic, and social-emotional development even before their second birthday.
Promoting active engagement with high-quality material is essential for children from birth to age five, but it is also important to consider the interests and needs of individual children. Websites like Common Sense Media, PBS Kids, and Sesame Workshop can help parents decide which apps and programs are best for their children.
Like physical tools, digital tools can promote school readiness.
Family support for school readiness is found in traditional forms like book reading and newer technologies such as e-books. Whether a story is in print or digital format, parents can help children develop the skills they need for school by engaging in dialogic reading with their child-asking them questions about the stories and relating the content to the child's life. Research suggests that preschoolers can learn best from well-designed e-books with limited distracting features (such as games and sounds), and when parents' questions focus on the stories themselves rather than the features of the electronic medium (such as pushing buttons).
Digital tools can support parent and child togetherness.Technology can elicit exciting topics for conversation and encourage family members to spend time with one another. Through conversation and family time, parents can engage in critical responsive communications that are essential to their child's healthy development.Acknowledgements: Thank you to Kristen Darling, Kaylor Garcia, Gayane Baziyants, Kim Alleyne, and Josh Sparrow for their time and insights shared in the development of this blog.
I agree with Andrea that we should think about "What WON'T THE CHILD BE DOING while they are using the electronics/technology?" And with Tanya that not all music heard by children in early childhood settings should be from electronic recording (because first-hand human-guided music experiences include that important relationship piece). I agree with Rae that children need lots of movement to develop fully. And I agree with Faith that as we develop ways to research to understand the development of young children, we owe it to them, to their health and future, to make sure we ask good questions and report on the evidence-based research. We owe it to children to keep our wonderings and concerns as questions until our "personal knowledge-of-a-child type research," or a scientific study research provides guidance.
I am so grateful that my parents chose to have me immunized against the polio virus-a decision based on research. Scientific research continues to support immunizing as a best health practice for most.
In the past, autism was attributed to the mother-child relationship and we know now, through research and personal experience, not to attribute it to the mother's emotional connection with her child.
And we all have "personal research" stories where we figured out what a child needed, based on our close observations and personal relationship with the child.
Screentime? I agree with Fran: "It's all about finding new ways to incorporate all that surrounds you and the children for whom you care into your developmentally appropriate framework." I like to be in the play yard or out in the woods…taking photos with a digital camera to discuss with children later as we continue to explore those spaces.
From the perspective of a parent educator and early childhood advocate, I stand with those voices unafraid to point to screen time impact on child development. Certainly no one is talking about a scree-free childhood. As mentioned, screens are everywhere in a child's life, at home, in the grocery store, at the doctor's office, in the mall. But, where is there a space for their development to be uninterrupted by them? Early educators have an opportunity to focus on building trusted relationships, providing opportunities for the hands-on messy experiences that foster creative problem-solving, cooperation, and 3-dimensional learning essential to brain development. Our children will be required to have screens soon enough and will not have any trouble learning how to use them because they were without them for several hours in their very young life-taking advantage of brain-boosting activities that build a foundation for future learning.
The Children's Screen Time Action Network Resource Library provides perspectives, just like this discussion, along with tools and best practices that may help educators craft the right solutions for their classrooms.