Bad Effects of Too Much Screen Time on Toddlers

Too Much Screen Time: Bad Effects and Remedy

This post is a confession. Our own experience on the bad effects of too much screen time on our little toddler-Seb.

Too Much Screen Time: Bad Effects and Remedy

The Fault:

I feel guilty. We feel guilty. Lately, my nephew has been doing minimal activities. Instead, he’s being entertained by Grizz, Panda and Ice Bear quite a lot in a day.

And if these three bears are busy, Moana, Maui and Lightning McQueen take their place.

My sister and I will not offer any excuses. We admit to our fault. We’ve been slacking lately- giving time for other things and not dedicating even a couple of minutes to prepare an activity for Seb.

Doing on-the-spot preparations don’t work anymore. Instead of having productive time with our toddler, frustrations arise instead.

Here are just a few scenes we’ve experienced these past few days:

  • Seb didn’t want to do finger painting, instead he wanted to squeeze all the paint out of the bottle.
  • He tore the paper that I gave him and punched holes on it using a paintbrush.
  • When I invited him to play with blocks, he gave me the remote and gestured for me to turn on the TV.
  • I asked him to get a book so we can start with storytelling, he handed me the remote instead.

It is so sad that the routine we’ve set him on before are now gone just because we didn’t follow through for two weeks.

JUST TWO WEEKS!

I guess in toddlers’ time, two weeks is equivalent to two months. No wonder he has already forgotten what we’ve taught him.

And we’re afraid that he would learn how to operate the TV first and navigate through the hard drive before he learns how to speak.

Too Much Screen Time: Bad Effects and Remedy

The Consequences: Bad Effects of Too Much Screen Time

The following are noticeable changes we noticed on Seb after having too much screen time:

  • Lacks patience doing things that he normally enjoys.
  • Shorter attention span than before. He can only sustain long attention when watching TV.
  • Cries more often.
  • Tends to push for what he wants and doesn’t listen to instructions- or he totally ignores it.
  • Displays more aggressive behaviour such as throwing his toys and hitting people- well he mostly hits me.
  • Talks less. He doesn’t talk yet to begin with, but before whereas he would already clearly say Mama, Papa and Bobot, now he would resort to mumbling first and it would take him seconds or even minutes to say the words clearly.

The Plan of Action

Having spotted these negative consequences, my sister and I have listed down the things that we would do to reverse them.

  1. We plan to organize my nephew’s toys and delegate days as to when he would play with them so he doesn’t get bored playing with the same toys over and over again.
  2. Buy new art and craft materials so we can set-up more varied activities for Seb.
  3. Prepare an actual plan for my nephew’s activities– similar to a class syllabus and lesson plan. This way we can track his progress and see which skills need more practice.
  4. Set-up daily routine. An hourly schedule (if possible) to set a structure to my nephew’s day, so he would more or less expect what he’ going to do next.
  5. No more TV inside the bedroom. No more screen time. Or at least just do it every Friday. Like a movie Freebie Friday.

Hopefully we’ll be able to follow through everything we’ve listed because my nephew’s development is at stake.

Somehow I feel extra guilty because I’m the preschool teacher. I should have known not to give him too much screen time.

I’m aware of the consequences. I’ve seen it on my students who were exposed to iPads, tablets and TV at such a young age. And yet I let it happen.

The reason: It was convenient.

It’s so easy to just turn on the TV just so he would stop crying and throwing tantrums especially when we’re busy and/or exhausted.

But we’re putting an end to it now.

We can do this!

Planning is key.

More on Too Much Screen Time series:

#1- Organize Toddler Toys

#2- Recommended Materials and Supplies for Toddler Activities

#3- Plan Weekly Schedule of Toddler Activities

Are you guilty of giving too much screen time to your child? 

What do you do when your child’s eyes are glued to the TV? 

I’d really love to hear your opinions and suggestions. So do comment below.

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Too Much Screen Time: Bad Effects and Remedy

Too Much Screen Time: Bad Effects and Remedy

49 Responses

  1. Screen time is one of those things that has become more and more used as a way to keep kids busy. I definitely agree that it needs to be brought down some.

  2. Thank you for this post. I have a 2 year old who probably is in front of the TV too often as I work from home and I know there’s no way it can be good. One thing I have never done, however, is buy TVs for inside the bedroom for either my children because I simply don’t believe that they need one. Even in my own room I don’t have a TV since separating from my husband. The obsession we have with TV is too much.

  3. I hear you. We went through this when our girls were younger. We also set some boundaries and saw great difference. Now that they are older they are way too busy with homework, friends and we go out way more this days too. You are in the right track by making a plan and setting a routine.

  4. That is such a tough subject with toddlers. We have a two year old and while we don’t have designate screen time, we watch a show every once in a while. She’s in preschool that has a strict no screen policy so that’s helped us with maintaining that in the home. I try to come up with fun activities or we’ll just explore outdoors. Reading books and stickers are our favorite.

  5. Parents, please take heed of these wise words. As a high school teacher, I battle every single day to claim just 5 minutes of a student’s time. They would much rather have their noses buried in their iPhones. In my school, it’s safe to say that about 60% of the students have NO interest in learning if they have to put the phone down.

    1. You are correct, Bibi. I’m a preschool teacher and as early as kindergarten you can already see the difference in learning behavior of kids exposed to too much screen time and those who aren’t.
      That is why I feel extra guilty for letting my nephew go through with this problem. 😭 I just hope it’s not too late.

  6. I agree with most of your views. My sisters 2 year old one is like this. He lacks patience doing things that he normally enjoys and displays more aggressive behavior such as throwing his toys and hitting people. Now I understood what the actual reason is.

  7. I’m so happy for your sister! 😊
    We were also doing a great job. Having different fun activities for my nephew. But then two weeks ago, we’ve been remiss. My nephew had too much screen time and started behaving badly.
    We’re back on our tracks though. 😁 We can do this!

  8. My sister did a good job at this issue. She never exposed my niece and nephew to too much screen time and never had problems with it. Thankfully, the kids are more interested with arty crafty or outdoor stuff. I will put this in mind when I become a mom myself. 😉

  9. It is important to set limitations on screen time. I wrote about this topic but from the point of view that it is OK to allow children access to screens with limitations. Great job

  10. I too have used structure and routines to mitigate the amount of screen time my little ones are exposed to. It is amazing what a difference in makes in their behavior and attitude.

  11. Many times we just don’t realize what negative effects the screen time can have on our toddlers. I got to know some interesting information here and if I ever have my own kids, I’ll certainly think carefully how much time they can spend in front of the screen.

  12. I SOOOO needed these tips! We are trying to find the right balance of screen time for my toddler and it is always hard to know what is best! Thank you so much for this post!

  13. I get this. It’s so hard when you have so much to do every day to keep kids properly engaged, but it really does make a difference to their behaviour and happiness. Good luck with the new schedule!

    1. I know! ☹️ We never thought that he’d be that attached to TV. And in such a short time, too.
      I’ll definitely see this issue through. I really want to get the word out there that too much screen really affects toddlers negatively. 😭

    1. Seb used to love going out, too. But after too much screen time, he’d rather sit and watch.
      But we’re already working on it. Fingers crossed 🤞, he’ll be able to enjoy outdoor activities again.

  14. This is so true! Kids can get so aggressive because of too much TV especially when it comes to the point where you’re limiting their TV time and they can get so hard-headed to!But I think it’s better to ensure kids don’t get addicted to the TV.

  15. I am not sure it is good to introduce tv or tablets to the toddlers. I know they get cranky when we pulled these device out from them. Sometimes they can react to a certain level that scare me. I totally agree planning is the key and educating them there is a timetable that they must follow. Else totally no screen time.

    1. I know how it is when kids are introduced to gadgets and TV. Yet we’ve been remiss. It was our fault. Hopefully, we get to reverse the bad effects with the plan we laid out for him.

  16. It is very alarming, right? My nephew got really exposed these past two weeks and the effect on him was really obvious. Particularly on his behaviour and speech.
    Hopefully our planned intervention will work. Right now, I would say he’s like addicted to it. He’s so drawn to it. 😭

    1. Hopefully it does work for you!
      The first few days are the hardest, but it will get easier on him.
      I managed to cut my kids back on the screen time to just 30 minutes a day. The TV is only allowed to be turned on while I am cooking supper in the evening. We eat at the same time each day, so they know when to expect it and hardly ever ask for TV earlier in the day anymore.

      1. I hope so, too. I’ll watch out for your post. I definitely need all the pointers I can get. 😊
        And thank you, Marissa. I’m honestly glad that there are people who understand what we’re experiencing. Have a great day!

  17. I actually have an article scheduled to be published on my blog in 2 weeks on this very topic.
    I have definitely seen a difference in my childrens behavior on a day to day basis that is directly linked to the amount of time they spend watching tv. It makes a difference, and it matters!

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