Put away the phone and play!

Having some meaningful playtime with your little one can go a long way to improve their development.

Like me, I'm sure that you are guilty of sometimes pulling out your phone during playtime to check on work emails. An article I read this past week was a great reminder that this can be a distraction for both me and my little one.

A recent study from @indianauniv with 1-year-old's is the first to show "a direct connection between how long a caregiver looks at an object and how long an infant's attention remains focused on that same object". This is super important because sustain attention is known as a strong indicator for later success in areas such as language acquisition and problem-solving.

Here's the Main Dish: 

  • The researchers used head-mounted eye tracking to record parent and child eye-gazes during a "free play" session in a daycare or home like setting
  • Caregivers fell into two major groups: those who let the infants direct the course of their play and those who attempted to forcefully guide the infants' interest toward specific toys.
  • The caregivers who were most successful at maintaining their children's attention were those who "were sensitive to their child's interest" and "let the child lead." These parents didn't need to try to redirect where the children were looking.

What This Means for You: 

  • To engage in meaningful playtime when your down on the floor with your little one, try not to sit back and not play along, or simply look elsewhere (like at your smart phone!). Put away that phone....even if it's just for 15 minutes!
  • Lead your little one take the lead when playing with toys! If you put out a few different toys for them to pick from, see which one they go to first and then play away (e.g., start telling them what it is, what color it is, what sound it makes, etc.).

Happy Playing!