How screen time affects your child's sleep
Do you use an iPad in bed when it is time to read your children a bedtime story? Research shows that the blue light on iPads makes the brain believe it is daytime, therefore an iPad in bed or before bedtime may prevent your child from achieving the important deep sleep phases. Children also feel less sleepy after using an iPad in bed, so they are particularly unhelpful for children who have a hard time falling asleep.
Is an iPad affecting how my child falls asleep?
Powerful blue light can interfere with circadian rhythm, and this can have a regulative effect on children’s sleep. This may then cause a restless night's sleep for your children, which also keep you up. The light from an iPad means it takes longer for a child to fall asleep and it also results in a 55% reduction of the sleep hormone melatonin.
Less REM sleep
Children dream more than adults and the use of an iPad before going to bed impacts the various stages of sleep. That means your child will get less REM sleep and consequently dream less. So it is useful to make sure there is less use of a screen before bedtime so that your child can dream endlessly.
Remove mobiles, iPads and TVs from your child’s bedroom
Limiting screen time will make sure that your child does not replace social interaction, physical activities and creative play with electronic entertainment. One way of minimising screen time is to remove mobile, iPad and TV from your child’s bedroom. Many adults find it useful to also do the same to try and avoid distraction before going to sleep.
Children and iPads have certain advantages
Children and iPads are not a totally negative combination. There are lots of great apps for children which can teach them useful things. There are applications to help children practice and develop their motor skills or to help improve their counting and spelling - according to their age.
It is a good idea to investigate what applications your child is using in his/her iPad to ensure that the content is acceptable. Also make sure that your child does not have an app for shopping. That will prevent you from running up a huge bill.
What do you think?
What is your opinion on children and screens, and what rules do you apply in your home? Feel free to share your experience and recommendations in the comments box below.