As parents, I think we all know the struggle is real with this topic. Should I allow my toddler to use an iPad? How much TV is too much? As speech therapists, we get these kinds of questions ALL the time! Here are the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations:
- For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting.
- Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they’re seeing.
- For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
Of course, these are just recommendations and ultimately the decisions on this topic are a personal preference for each parent.
I had 3 children in 3.5 years and no, none of them are twins. I did a great job of staying within the AAP guidelines for my first child, but once I had my second and third I realized that some days I needed to use the iPad and TV as a means of survival.
Looking back, were there days when my toddlers watched too much TV or used an iPad for more than 1 hour? Absolutely! In my opinion, as parents we do what we need to do to survive, but with that said, I do believe in everything in moderation. As much as possible, screen time for toddlers should be limited and content should be monitored. If you are allowing your toddler to use an iPad, there are many educational apps that you can make interactive and can actually help to boost language skills (message us for ideas).
Remember, everything in moderation. Be sure to read real books, play with real toys, and talk to and with your child constantly throughout the day. And no, you are not the worst mom ever if you allow a little screen time! Most of us do because let’s be honest, we are all just trying to survive this crazy and amazing journey of parenting.