Before a child develops sufficient eye teaming to support good focal vision—generally, around 18 months to 2 years for breast-fed babies, or around 2–3 years for bottle-fed babies—the best quantity of screen time is zero. Nada. None at all.
After a toddler’s visual system matures enough to watch some TV, it’s still prudent to limit screen time—especially to media that breaks the “7-Second Rule” (which has to do with the media itself, not its content).
How can you tell which media is fine? Watch the show or video game for a minute, timer in hand. Any cut to a new camera, or any quick pan to a new scene, starts the timer over. Is the average time between these cuts or quick pans at least seven seconds? If not, the show’s not good for your child’s development—however great the content may be. Have you ever noticed how slow “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” feels, in contrast to “Veggie Tales”? This is why.
Your family can find which guidelines work best for you. Here are some general guidelines, for use as a template:
For media that doesn’t break the 7-Second Rule:
• Age 0–2: None.
• Age 2–8: No more than half an hour a day.
• Age 9–14: No more than an hour a day.
For media that does break the 7-Second Rule:
• Age 0–2: None.
• Age 2+: For any child with attention issues, anger-management problems, communication delays, or an autism-spectrum condition, no more than 2–4 hours per month.
For other children, just pay attention: when does their awareness of the world around them begin to suffer? Can they abstain from media on Wednesdays and Fridays without suffering withdraws? Learning how much each child can handle—an amount which can change with maturation or stress—is a journey, best walked together.
Do check out the following website. (Thank-you to Matthew McNatt at McNatt Learning Center)
Sensory Processing Disorder is a fairly new diagnosis, although it certainly is not a new problem. Sometimes just knowing a label and small steps you can take to alleviate some of the stress is helpful. Within this article is a link with an extensive list to help you determine if SPD could be a concern.
Hoping this IMproves your day,
Sally Ellis www.imagineimprovement.com