Toddlers and Screens – Answers to a Common Question

Linda Brown, MD

With seemingly everybody using a smart phone or device these days, a common question parents ask is: Do I need to limit my toddler’s screen time? The answer is that virtual reality is no substitute for the real thing! Your child needs to touch, smell, interact with and explore their world in a real way. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under two years old avoid screens completely, and children from two to five have only one hour per day of age-appropriate, educational programming.

I believe less is better: young children should play with blocks, look through books, enjoy walks outside, color with crayons, blow bubbles, and enjoy other activities that stimulate their brains. Limiting screen time allows more opportunity to actively encourage your child’s imagination and creativity.

All of this said, there is one screen-time use that I encourage — video chatting! Interacting with faraway relatives and friends online is a wonderful way to remain involved in each other’s lives. Enjoy the exciting days of exploration with your toddler! You may have so much fun that you’ll take a screen holiday yourself.

Dr. Linda Brown provided this information.