‘Screen-Free’ Play Best for Toddlers’ Brains

Posted on November 11, 2011

Even ‘educational’ programming is less healthy than independent play, experts say

Unstructured play is much better than TV or videos for encouraging brain development in infants and toddlers, a new American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement says. Free play helps children under age 2 learn to think creatively, problem solve, and develop reasoning and motor skills at an early age. It also teaches them how to entertain themselves, the pediatric experts pointed out in an AAP news release.

While a large number of video programs for infants and toddlers are marketed as educational, no evidence exists to support this claim, said the AAP. The group also said that extensive exposure to TV and videos puts children at risk for delays in language development when they start school.

Even when parents watch their own programs, it distracts them and decreases their interaction with their children. The intrusion of a parent’s TV program may also interfere with a young child’s opportunities to learn from play and other activities.

Overall, young children learn best from and require interaction with people, not TV shows or videos, the AAP advises.

Source: Healthday

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