From the very start, a baby’s brain development is closely tied to interaction with kind and loving human beings.
Early childhood experts encourage parents to talk with, read to and play with their babies and toddlers. Importantly, the adult needs to encourage baby to mimic words. This creates a natural back-and-forth that’s the beginning stage of conversation.
A baby’s brain learns that voice inflection, facial expressions and actions add meaning to the sounds of words. All these activities require interactions with a live person. Learn more about this at the website for the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
In 2019 the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital concluded from their research on infant brain development that parents should avoid use of any screen media for children younger than 18 months. They recommend limiting screen time for 2- and 3-year-olds to short video-chatting with someone the child recognizes as a loved one.
Thereafter, parents should be choosy about the quality of screen programming and should watch along with young children to help them understand what they’re seeing.
A study by the Seattle Children’s Research Center found that babies as young as 10 months can get hooked on screen time, depriving them of interactions with the real world. The Today Show recently featured a story on this phenomena.
Experts seem to agree that brain development is delayed by screen time in early childhood. Be present in the moment for your child. The time you invest will be worth so much more than whatever task you do while your toddler sits alone, staring at a screen.
Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Health Department.