While scanning a friend’s baby-shower wishlist the other day, I realized how absolutely clueless first-time parents are. Don’t get me wrong, having two kids under two does not make me an expert. But it does give me some insight into what items are useful, and what items are over-the-top. There are electronics and gadgets for almost anything these days, and there were some new items on her list that I’d honestly never heard of, and I just had a baby last year.
There are some gadgets and pieces of technology available for babies now that I see as unnecessary. Whether it’s a phone, a tablet or a baby tv show, there are several reasons why these toys aren’t needed in your household, and why they can actually be harmful to your child’s development.
Hinders normal brain development
Developmental psychologist Gabrielle Principe, author of Your Brain On Childhood, describes the way that an infant’s brain develops. By looking at a screen, babies are not following their parents’ eyes and movements. In no way does a screen take the place of human interaction necessary for proper development.
Disrupts sleep patterns
The light given off the iPad can actually negatively affect your baby’s natural sleep patterns. In 2012, American Medical Association (im originally from the US) issued a policy recognizing “that exposure to excessive light at night, including extended use of various electronic media, can disrupt sleep or exacerbate sleep disorders, especially in children and adolescents.” We all know sleep for infants is an unpredictable thing, so messing with any natural patterns is a no-no.
Lack of age appropriate apps
What type of app is an infant capable of using? Most app developers understand that iPads and phones are not for children, and they don’t create apps for children under 2. This means an infant is stuck in a seat watching fish swimming across the screen, or something similarly pointless.
My son is only 10 months old, and he has already outgrown his bouncy seat. His baby stages are flying by, and I will one day wish for them back. There’s plenty of time for cleaning and cooking once my baby is able to entertain himself without my constant attention. For the short while he wants to be held and cuddled, I will cuddle him, instead of plopping him in front of a screen so I can get something done.