Speech delay in Children and screen time

Contrary to popular belief that TVs will help your child develop vocabulary and speak fast, research shows that there is an inverse correlation between screen time in children and their speech development. Yes, the more your child who is less than 2 years watches lots of television, ipad or cartoons on your smartphone, you are assured that they will find it harder to express themselves verbally.

This comes at a time when so many kids, actually over 3 billion have watched and being awed by the catchy, addictive Baby shark doo doo doo that is playing on Youtube. The makers of the catchy song did something that most parents did not know; they hired a psychologist so as to make the song as catchy as possible no wonder it has hit those number of Youtube views in such a short time. The composition of the song is very simple; few vocabularies, centers on family structures and has a great tempo that changes from slow to fast. The lyrics are simple to follow and at the same time repetitive so that your kid can grasp them as soon as possible while getting hooked and pestering you to play it again and again. When I first listened to the song, I liked the simple structure centering on baby shark, mother, father, grandpa and grandma shark; people that all kids know of and have fond thoughts about. But after listening it for sometimes, I found that I could not get it off my mind. It was a true head worm that would play itself again and again.

Rather than give your kid free time to watch TV or your iPad as you focus on other things, you need to be there when they are watching the screen. And this is only for those between 2 years to five years who should have a maximum of 1 hour per day screen time. Younger kids below 2 are not to have any screen time. None at all. As you watch it with them, make sure to do the following

  1. Monitor what they are watching lest it has adult content or obscene language that the kid might try to imitate
  2. Try to talk to them over the program and watch their attentiveness. The kid should not pay so much attention to the screen as to avoid listening to you.
  3. After the program is done, talk to them about it and ask questions about what they saw. This way, the kid will be able to see the screen as a platform to learn
  4. Try to incorporate the tv program watched with their daily lives

For kids below 2 years whom you want to speed up their talk, you could do this using the following methods.

  1. Imitate their babbling
  2. Talk to them and give them a chance to talk back
  3. Get toys that make audio sounds and after sometimes, have the batteries or speakers removed so that the kid can make the sounds on their own. This has been shown to encourage speech in nonverbal autistic kids
  4. Have them play with others to encourage social interaction.