My 4 year old loves screens & I was wondering if you could help me understand what being "tech healthy" for a little one really means and how I can get there?!
Ok, First of all we need to talk about being a parent or caregiver right now before we can talk about healthy screen use. When parenting littles - especially in a pandemic - we need to take great care of ourselves on a really foundational level. Because your output is so high right now - as a professional, an at home parent/teacher, caring for siblings - you have to prioritize your own sleep, nutrition, breaks, connection to other adults, asking for help & seeking support.
Now, we can talk about some healthy behaviors that can support a tech healthy family. As you can see, the things that make a healthy family also make a tech healthy family. It's about focusing on the basics right now and developing plans that work for the "right now" of life.
Rhythm & Routines: think of meal times, bath, bedtimes, school, outdoor time, story time - and even screen time - as predictable touch points your young child can depend on. We all thrive when we know the expectation and can trust the process we've built into our days.
Know Your Child: How do they engage with tech? How can I lead them based on what I know about them? What type of programming/games works for them & for our family?
Vet Apps, Channels & Programs: When we say yes to tech, we want to feel good. If you’re not limiting screen time or need to rely on screens more, manage the programming they’re consuming so it feels like a match for your child and family.
Seek Partnership or Support: Who is on your team? Look to share responsibilities. Be proactive, redesign as needed, make a plan with other adults who help care for your child. Connect to resources to support your family's health and well-being.
Make Your Connection Strong: If the day is distracting, chaotic & busy, make sure there is some time for you to be present. Hold your child, speak lovingly to them, make eye contact, read a story or enjoy some time together. It does not have to be perfect, but prioritize some intentional, undistracted connection.