Striking a Balance Between Playtime and Screen Time
Your child’s future success is determined, in part, by the education they benefit from in early childhood. It’s always a great feeling knowing you have access to a well-designed certified daycare with trained and certified educators where your children can learn, grow, and develop to reach their potential. Children learn best in environments where they are free to discover, play, and explore. There’s no doubt about the power of play!
Television and video programming have become an increasingly popular tool for child education and entertainment, but that’s not the whole story. Despite its obvious benefits for both kids and parents alike, TV, on the whole, has a mixed reputation when it comes to child development and education.
While it can be tempting to use the TV as a tool to support education, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. The long and short of it is that educational television programming requires balance. Screen time needs to be balanced out by physical, hands-on play. Let’s take a closer look:
Television and Development
While educational television programming can provide benefits, we know that there has to be a balance between screen time and playtime. Elmo and Big Bird have entertained and educated many young children for several decades, and today there are many well-designed television programs that provide vocabulary lessons and learning activities that extend beyond the television hour. However, the increased use of technology these days raises concerns about how screen time affects the developing brain.
It doesn’t take much research to realize that there is a lot of debate on how television affects the brain development of young children. Many researchers claim it is all about the quality of the content children watch, while others argue that it is about the quantity of time spent in front of the big screen. Regardless, most researchers will agree that two hours of high-quality programming every day is more than enough and that young children should not be exposed to viewing violence.
Since technology is unavoidable, there are ways to use technology to support your child’s learning. Having learning apps accessible on your phone or tablet is a great way to expose children to positive technology. Like it or not, technology will be a part of your child’s future, and if children are taught now how to use it appropriately, they will benefit later.
Setting time limits and monitoring are ways to teach children that information is valuable and there are responsibilities that come with having access to so much information.
The Power of Play
Through play, children develop in many ways by using their imagination, language, social skills, and intelligence. Playtime provides opportunities for children to play out real-life scenarios, make up games, and react with others socially. It is during this time that children learn how to interact with children of a similar age. They get to sharpen their skills related to sharing, caring, and kindness.
By letting your kids go to daycare, they can experience fun, interesting environments where they can play, create, and develop a love of learning all while having fun. Through various activities, your child has an opportunity to practice what he or she knows while sparking their imagination and fueling their thirst for knowledge.
Early childhood education programs offer an abundance of activities for children to develop cognitively, emotionally and socially. Through games, play structures, and equipment, daycare facilities offer lots of age-appropriate activities for children to thrive. Highly-trained staff in both child safety and in the safe operation of equipment are always a characteristic to look for when choosing a daycare.
It’s also important to look for a daycare that offers bounce houses, play structures, and obstacle courses where children can receive gentle physical activity while developing hand-eye coordination and motor skills.
A Parent’s Role
A parent’s involvement in a child’s early development is vital to the success of any early childcare center education program. Providing play and learning opportunities outside of the classroom for your child, only helps him or her perform better in a preschool or early education program. There are many things parents can do to support a learning environment that fosters their child’s development:
- Games are a great way to connect with your child and have conversations about what they are learning. Educational games, finger-painting, puzzles, and making crafts are a great way to boost cognitive skills.
- Helping your child to make healthy food choices supports your child’s development. It is in the early years that many food preferences are developed. While letting them have a say in what they like, try to schedule regular meals and healthy snack times.
- Instill the love of learning by reading and planning activities with your child. A trip to the library, zoo, or local museum always provides great learning opportunities for young children.
When children are included in simple everyday events and task, such as running errands or doing chores, they develop skills such as teamwork, responsibility, and the value of work. Having your child pitch in and contribute teaches a young child that they are needed and important.
A positive educational environment is important for your child’s development. Whether they are at home, daycare, or preschool, their environment determines and influences their development in many ways that will carry them into their adult years. At Kids Kingdom, we support and build on your child’s developmental needs while making learning interesting and fun with many indoor activities, as well as outdoor activities, when weather permits.
Find the Right Environment
Whether your child is a part of Kids Kingdom or attends a program elsewhere, it is important that the environment is a good fit for your child. Our staff is well-trained in both professional development and trained to ensure your child is safe and in good hands. We have designed our space to be clean, comfortable, safe and inviting. In addition, we have guidelines in place along with age-appropriate expectations.