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Mobile phone? No thanks! Here are some healthy alternatives

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

A recent research study led by Jenna Radesky from the University of Michigan looked into how using mobile devices is related to emotions and thinking skills in young children, specifically those aged 3 to 5 years old.

The findings of this study suggest that the frequent use of mobile devices for calming young children may affect the way they learn how to control and show their emotions over time. Therefore, pediatric health care professionals suggest to consider different approaches (Radesky et al., 2023).

Here are some alternative approaches and strategies for calming a toddler without relying on mobile devices:

  1. Engage in sensory play: Provide sensory activities that help your toddler relax and focus, such as playing with kinetic sand, water play, or using a sensory bin filled with rice or beans. These activities can be calming and divert their attention away from restlessness.

  2. Practice deep breathing exercises: Teach your toddler simple deep breathing techniques. Encourage them to take slow breaths in and out, counting to help them focus. Deep breathing can help regulate emotions and promote relaxation.

  3. Use calming visuals or sensory tools: Provide visual aids like calming nature pictures, sensory bottles, or a lava lamp. These visual stimuli can have a soothing effect and help redirect their attention.

  4. Encourage physical activity: Engage your toddler in physical activities such as dancing, jumping, or playing with a soft ball. Physical exertion can help release pent-up energy and promote a sense of calm.

  5. Create a cozy environment: Set up a calm and cozy corner in your home with soft pillows, blankets, and low lighting. This dedicated space can serve as a safe retreat when your toddler needs to relax or calm down.

  6. Incorporate calming music or white noise: Play soft, soothing music or use white noise machines to create a calming atmosphere. Gentle sounds can help your toddler relax and unwind.

  7. Practice mindfulness or guided relaxation: Explore simple mindfulness exercises or guided relaxation techniques suitable for toddlers. These practices can help them focus their attention, relax their bodies, and ease their minds.

  8. Offer gentle massages or hugs: Physical touch, such as gentle massages or soothing hugs, can be comforting for toddlers. Use gentle pressure and rhythmic strokes to help them relax and feel secure.

Radesky, J. S., Kaciroti, N., Weeks, H. M., Schaller, A., & Miller, A. L. (2023). Longitudinal associations between use of mobile devices for calming and emotional reactivity and executive functioning in children aged 3 to 5 years. JAMA Pediatrics, 177(1), 62.

By Child Psychologist

Ms Azureen

Master of Child Psychology (M'sia)

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