How Screen Time Can Affect Your Preschooler’s Brain Development

Living in a digital age, there has been an ongoing debate on when and if parents should be exposing their children to the world of electronics. From tablets to smartphones to even television, the tech list goes on and on. Of course, as parents, we only want to provide what’s best for our children. So how does screen time affect a child’s brain development?

The first five years of a child’s life are the most crucial time for the development of the brain. Early experiences impact brain development and influence the way in which the circuits of the brain become wired. A new MRI study found that children between the ages of 3-5 who used screens for more than the one hour a day recommendation without parental involvement had lower levels of development in the brain’s white matter. White matter is the area of the brain responsible for the development of language, literacy, and cognitive skills. 

Because of this, the World Health Organization has established new guidelines for children’s screen time. They suggest that children between the ages of 2-4 should have no more than one hour of screen time while children under the age of 1 should have no screen time at all. It is not the use of electronics itself that causes this “brain damage” but rather the amount of time a child spends on the screen.

There are a wide variety of early activities that can be implemented to positively impact a child’s brain development. Some of these include, but are not limited to:

  • Reading to kick starts language and communication skills
  • Arts and crafts to practice fine motor skills
  • Getting kids involved in activities they can assist you with such as cooking or gardening
  • Interactive play to spark imagination and creativity
  • Exploring the outdoors by going on a walk or hike

As caregivers, it is important that we show our children the value of problem-solving skills and social skills early on in life to enhance their development. We’d love to hear what activities you do in your own home to replace screen time!

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