Active Parenting Spurs Development

Technology might seem miraculous, but it is no substitute for parent-child quality time. “Talking, playing and sharing picture books and stories with infants, toddlers and preschoolers is still the best foundation for learning a parent can give to their child,” says retired pediatrician Jean Barton, of Sedona. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no exposure to screens for children under 2 years old; as the child grows older, families can use interactive media to support learning and, ultimately, relationships, according to First Things First, whose mission centers on healthy development of Arizona’s young children. “A great alternative to media use that is non-engaging, such as a child sitting alone watching a television show, is to use an app or other technology that involves age-appropriate learning and allows parents to engage their children in conversations that grow their vocabulary or allow for an exploration of the senses,” said Kelly Lubeck, a First Things First program manager. “When you use technology with your child, think of it as another opportunity to further communication and build the relationship with your child.” For more tips, go to healthychildren.org and search screen time.