4 Benefits of screen time for preschoolers

It’s not often we associate ‘benefits’ with screen time, but when used in moderation there are some benefits to be had for pre-school kids. It’s all about balance! Find out more about the educational, communication, creative and physical benefits of screen time.
It’s not often we associate ‘benefits’ with screen time, but when used in moderation there are some benefits to be had for preschool kids. It’s all about balance!

The whole landscape of childhood has changed over the last few years. Preschool kids these days know how to navigate a computer, use a mouse and play games on a smart phone from when they’re young.

There’s also an array of around the clock entertainment on TV that’s tailored to their age, developmental level and learning needs.

The key is balance and sticking to any boundaries you set about when your preschooler can watch TV or use the iPad.

Screen time isn’t about using devices or watching TV instead of playing with toys, reading books or spending time with friends, it’s meant to compliment them.

The preschool years are the best time to lay down a foundation to help children mature into confident and capable digital citizens.

4 Benefits of screen time


1. Educational benefits of screen time

Language. Numbers. Books. There’s a show and app for everything, and if your preschooler's interacting and engaged, they’re learning something. However it’s also about catering to their attention span.

The typical TV show for a 3 year old is about 15 minutes long, so up to half an hour is a good gauge for a screen time session. Beyond that, they may not actually be absorbing anything, which is why TV shows for young children are so short.

The educational value of technology and the most effective learning happens when preschoolers interact with others, so look for applications that allow you to have fun exploring and creating things together.

If you’re looking for the best educational apps, check out online reviews by other parents and look for key educational features.

For instance with phonics apps, make sure it’s in British English as that’s what children are taught at school rather than American English.

With book apps, find ones where the text is highlighted as they read it. It helps make that connection between the sound and word.

2. Communication benefits of screen time

Preschoolers may be a little too young to start sending their own emails without your help, but technology offers them the chance to communicate and see friends and family on the other side of the world.

It gives them an opportunity to share milestones and experiences which would otherwise be missed.

Software such as Skype helps kids to develop oral and visual communication as well as creating real relationships and shared memories.

Setting up a family blog and using it like an online scrapbook is another way to help kids share photos, stories and artwork online.

Further down the track your preschooler can look back at the blog and reconnect with their past experiences which can help their memory development and metacognitive processes like interpretation, understanding a situation or thinking through a problem.
Television and apps can also be used in a good way to help address trickier or more complicated subjects and help to explain various situations to preschoolers more clearly.

3. Creative benefits of screen time

Help your little one discover the world through creative outlets such as music, painting and drawing online.

There are many TV programmes and apps available which encourage creativity and can be customised to different skill levels and age groups.

Free apps are a great way to see how your preschooler gets on and then you can upgrade as they progress or try something new if they need to take a step back.

4. Physical benefits of screen time

Pressing on apps encourages your preschooler's fine motor skills (the smaller muscle movements), but it’s also about the type of app you choose.

Look for an activity that’s not too difficult for them to complete, but also not too easy for your preschooler's ability. Something slightly challenging such as jigsaw apps or ones where they need to alternate their fingers to tap the screen.

You know how your preschooler is developing and what they can already do outside of screen time, so tailor your choice to that and a little more.

Some children’s TV programmes also encourage kids to do physical activity, often incorporating dancing, jumping and hopping into the story and ask them to copy and take part at home and move around the room.

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