Real Talk about Virtual Life

Two complementary principles form the bedrock of Carousel of Languages’ esteemed foreign language program for infants and toddlers:

First, our philosophy and methodology are based on research—well established and ongoing—in the fields of brain development, child psychology, early childhood education, language acquisition, and multilingualism. Carousel Teaching System®, our signature curriculum, is grounded in two decades of proven classroom success.

Second, we maintain a warm, nurturing, child-centered learning environment, geared specifically to the needs and interests of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. We encourage our tiny students to be bold and inquisitive, to play, to explore our safe, enchanting space. This atmosphere stimulates the senses, inspires curiosity, and helps spark a lifelong love of learning.

At the intersection of these two principles is research demonstrating that early experiences mold and shape the developing brain.

language learning class with Babies

Beginning in infancy positive, loving social interaction is key to early learning and language acquisition.

As we sing, dance, smile, laugh, play, cuddle, hold hands, read, and talk with babies—and introduce a second language—we are building a more powerful brain.

When it comes to education, especially for young children, the intimacy and developmental benefits of in-person learning are vital.

We look forward to the day we can welcome you back to our beautiful Carousel home! We cherish time together an intimate class setting, among friends.

language learning class with carousel
language learning class necklace

Nevertheless, we are very grateful for the technology that allows us to keep in close touch—teaching, learning, singing, dancing, playing, and conversing—while we cannot be together! We’re thrilled with the success of our online lessons, and the enthusiastic response from parents.  We continue to develop and expand our remote programming to provide your child with the authentic Carousel experience, and the very best in distance learning.

We live in an increasingly device-oriented, online world. Even in normal times, but especially in these extraordinary recent months, when global health concerns have kept much of the world working and learning remotely, everyone is concerned about the amount of time we spend in front of screens—especially parents.

We all seek a healthy and balanced digital life—for ourselves and our children—but we’re not always sure what that means.

Here are 5 Expert Tips on how to establish healthy screen time habits for your kids!

1.

Real Interaction Even When it’s Virtual

The first and most important consideration in managing your child’s screen time is
what KIND of screen time?

As Kids Health.org puts it, “all screen time is not created equal.” Time spent directly interacting with a special person such as a grandparent—or beloved Carousel teacher!—is significantly different and better than passive screen time, or just “zoning out” in front of a program.

2.

Watch the Clock

Remember that kids learn primarily through their bodies and senses—exploring their world, interacting with people, objects, and their environment. For this reason, it is best to limit overall screen time.

Here’s a healthy time guideline (with some wiggle room on the weekends).

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that with the exception of time spent online in quality human connection, children ages 2 to 5 should spend no more than one hour per day in front of a screen. Ideally, children under 18-months should only use screen time for real human interaction.

3.

Free Time… Free from Screens

When you’re busy, it’s tempting to use the TV, tablet, or phone as a babysitter.

But remember, unstructured time for play—especially active play—is vital for your young child’s mind and body!

In fact, experts say children need twice as much unstructured playtime as structured activities each day. So when schoolwork is done or dance class is over, don’t just turn on the TV.

Free, imaginative play with toys, animals, dolls, blocks, Legos, playdough, dress-up clothes and so forth nurtures your child’s creativity, imagination, and problem solving skills.

It’s also ok to let them get a little bored!

According to “The Benefits of Boredom,” an article from Melbourne Child Psychology, “Boredom gives children an inner quiet that helps with imagination and self-awareness. Creative processes can stimulate interests that will stay with the child for life. Children develop creative skills when they have to come up with solutions to boredom.”

language learning class with plane
language learning class with blocks

4.

Keep it Active

Especially for young children, if they’re not interacting (virtually) with a live person, a high quality online experience means choosing apps, games, and programs that engage them in moving, singing, dancing, coloring, writing, talking, reading aloud, and so forth, not just staring and swiping. Also, try to avoid media that is too fast-paced and full of distractions.

5.

Stay Involved

  • Parents, model a healthy relationship to the virtual world. Limit your own time spent on devices, turn off screens well before bedtime, let your child see you make a choice to leave the laptop in favor of exercise, preparing a meal together, playing a game, taking a walk outside, reading a good book, or doing something creative.
  • Share some screen time with your child so that warm, positive human interaction becomes a part of it. Make screen time about authentic connection. Cuddle up with your kids and enjoy movie night or a good show. Play an educational video game together. Talk about what you’re watching or playing—what do you think will happen next? Or highlight good examples of friendship, helpfulness, cooperation, kindness, and respect for people, animals, and our planet.
  • KNOW what your child is watching—including any advertising they are exposed to. Make sure it’s age appropriate and aligns with your family’s values.
  • Use parent-controlled blocks and filters to keep your child safe.
  • Turn off all screens during meals and family outings.

Bonus Tip!

Don’t be too hard on yourselves, parents. Aim to follow these guidelines most of the time, and don’t panic when there’s a day with too much screen time.

Register here  for our new, fully online, signature program—
specially designed for infants, toddlers, and young children.

And for an engaging activity to play with your child, try Carousel’s Alphabet Coloring App!

Sources and Further Reading

Article – www.kidshealth.org

Article – www.aacap.org

Article – www.kidshealth.org

Article – www.psychologytoday.com

A Google search