It may seem like an easy form of entertainment and distraction, but tots and tech don’t mix well. For starters, research shows that heavy use of touchscreen devices is associated with weight gain and cognitive delays in little ones. What’s more, it can also negatively impact a child’s sleep: Those who spend a lot of time in front of a screen tend to go to bed later, take longer to fall asleep, and sleep fewer hours than those with less exposure to these devices.
That lost sleep is significant: For every hour spent using a tablet device, infants and toddlers get 15.6 minutes less sleep, and older kids miss out on an average of 26.4 minutes of sleep nightly. (Infants need 12 to 15 hours of sleep a day and 1- to 2-year-olds require 11 to 14 hours, so every missed minute matters.)
To improve your child’s chances for a good night’s sleep, follow these three rules when it comes to touchscreen devices: