STOP Swiping While Dining. The Risks of Giving Toddlers and Babies Smartphones During Meals.

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In today’s digital age, smartphones have become an integral part of our daily lives. While they offer numerous benefits to us as adults, giving toddlers and babies smartphones during meals can pose several risks and set up really bad habits around food, social interaction and phone addiction in the critically important early years!

Here’s why it’s best to avoid this practice:

Distraction from Eating:

When toddlers and babies are engrossed in a smartphone, they may become distracted from their meal. This distraction can lead to overeating, undereating, or even choking if they are not paying attention to their food.

Missed Social Interaction:

Mealtime is an excellent opportunity for social interaction and bonding with family members. By focusing on a screen, toddlers and babies miss out on valuable face-to-face interaction, which is essential for their social and emotional development.

Developmental Concerns:

Excessive screen time has been linked to developmental delays in young children. When toddlers and babies spend too much time with smartphones, they may miss out on crucial activities that promote physical, cognitive, and social development.

Poor Eating Habits:

Using a smartphone during meals can encourage unhealthy eating habits. Children may associate screen time with eating, leading to a habit of mindless eating while watching videos or playing games.

Screen Time Guidelines:

Health experts recommend limiting screen time for young children.

The American Academy of Paediatrics suggests avoiding screen time for children younger than 18 months, except for video chatting.

For children aged 18 to 24 months, high-quality programming should be introduced, and screen time should be limited to one hour per day.

Tips for Healthy Mealtime Habits:

Create a Tech-Free Zone:

Designate mealtime as a tech-free zone to encourage mindful eating and family interaction.

Engage in Conversation:

Use mealtime as an opportunity to engage in conversation, share stories, and bond with your child.

Set a Good Example:

Be a role model for your child by limiting your own screen time during meals and engaging in healthy eating habits.

While smartphones can be useful and powerful tools, they really shouldn’t be a regular part of your toddler’s or baby’s mealtime routine. Encouraging mindful eating, promoting social interaction, and prioritising developmental activities are essential for the overall well-being and healthy development of young children.

Children are watching, listening and learning from you all the time – so put away your mobile phone too at mealtimes – chat together, laugh, connect and build wonderful memories with your little one – that you don’t need to share on social media – stay in the moment. Tune In – Turn Off at mealtimes and watch your baby and toddler blossom, bloom and thrive screen free!


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