This holiday, many gifts were electronic ones. Child development experts say this is a good time for parents to see the balance between screen time and family time.
Not long ago, TV was the only real electronic temptation, then came video games, computers, tablets, and smartphones. And they're irresistible to kids.
Dawn Herron, mother said, "To them, downtime is, you know, hopping on a tablet."
Dr. Eileen Everly added, "It's amazing how many parents are very proud to tell me their 2 or 3 month old, loves football or Bobby Flay.
But Dr. Everly says the attraction is misleading.
She says, "They may seem entranced by it, but their brain can't really make sense of it all that color - it's just pretty noise."
Dr. Everly says babies only learn by face-to-face interactions - from parents, caregivers, or siblings.
Because of that, the Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time under 18 months.
From 18 months to 5 years, an hour a day is okay.
"But we want that hour to be fruitful. We want that hour to be parent-interactive," said Dr. Everly.
So no using TV or videos as electronic babysitters!
Parents should watch and play along with the child - reinforcing what's on the screen.
Ask questions, such as - what did they just see? Can they think of other things like it?
Dr. Everly says, "We always want to try to relate what the child is seeing to their real-world experience - at any age."
And Dr. Everly says parents can be good examples for managing screen time by making meal times and bed times media-free.
"Let's show our children what it's like to have a conversation," said Dr. Everly.
Chip Herron, father said, "Screens are off when we say they're off and if we ever have company over, screens are off as well."
Through this, Dr. Everly says kids learn the value of physical closeness in the family - and that mom and dad can also put away their electronics away, giving kids the attention they thrive on.
Kids Health Matters: Balancing screen time
HEALTH & FITNESS
More Health & Fitness