Screen time is the number of hours a person spends each day in front of a computer, mobile device, or television, watching movies or playing video games. Our living rooms are filled with smart phones, tablets, iPods, computers, televisions, movies, gaming system, and more. As parents we wonder what we can do to manage and optimize our kids’ screen time.
Recently, The American Academy of Pediatrics released released media guidelines for parents of infants and toddlers. The guidelines had not been updated since 1999, and much has changed since then. These guidelines, while welcome, did not specifically address signing, which encourages the kinds of parent-child interaction that the AAP recommends.
A recent Emory University study did find that videos were effective in teaching infants and toddlers:
“Emory’s study found that babies were consistently able to understand the signs and photos of the corresponding objects after watching an instructional video for 15 minutes, four times a week for three weeks. Babies who watched the video performed just as well in tests as babies who had been taught signs by their parents in similar conditions.”
This isn’t to say that parents should rely on videos alone to teach sign language. We agree with the AAP that the best way for babies to watch videos is WITH their parents. Parents and babies can watch videos together to learn signs they can use in their daily interactions.
In What TV Has Taught My Kids: Confessions of a Mom Who Doesn’t Always Limit Screen Time the author shares how signing positively impacted her parenting experiences:
“My son was about six months old when Signing Time entered Netflix, and life hasn’t been the same since! I could communicate with him so much more easily than with my daughter who I only taught just a few signs. Now my daughter’s ASL vocabulary is extensive. Recently she was in a gymnastics class and she was hopping around while waiting her turn for the bars. I caught her eye and pointed to her then signed “potty.” She shook her head “no” and signed “dance.” Now of course this isn’t really speaking in ASL, but from across the room and up on a balcony I was able to ask her if she needed to go potty and she clearly told me, “No, just dancing!”
We receive success stories like this daily. We love hearing about how Signing Time videos have made a difference in the lives of children of all ages and abilities. We are committed to creating educational and entertaining videos for your family. Come sing, sign and learn with us!
The AAP encourages families to create their own media plan. You can download a workshop to help you do this here.