Children can still feel love through screen time interactions, experts say 

Feb 2, 2022, 5:19 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:49 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Now more than ever it is important for kids to feel a sense of connection. But with so many of their activities going online, many wonder if they are really getting the most out of these interactions. 

 And that’s important, because for young children, after two years of the pandemic, more of their interactions have been on a screen than in-person.

 Connection helps toddlers learn socialization skills.

 It allows them to develop the social-emotional skills to be able to interact with lots of different people and that’s a very valuable piece of their development,” said Jennifer Nuttall, Executive Director of Neighborhood House.

Neighborhood House in Salt Lake City has had to deal with that issue head on. Many of their intergenerational activities, where they bring their seniors and children together, have had to go virtual.

socially distanced activity at the Neighborhood House

“We have definitely needed to pivot,” said Nuttall. “We know being in the same room, having that eye contact, being able to have the interactions really decreases that social isolation and makes a much higher quality of life.”

Nuttall feels virtual interactions can still be meaningful if they are engaging.

“Thanks to technology we have been able to put the kids up on the big screen in one room and seniors in another where they are both actively participating,” she said.

Although seniors and children had to socially distance in the gym for their latest activity, participants like Jaden Warner, 9, were excited the event could be in person.

“We’ll dance with elderly people and just have fun,” Warner said.

Make FaceTime and Zoom more interactive

Katie Ricord, Executive Director with Utah Association for the Education of Young Children, said although not ideal there are ways children can make strong connections over screens.

“Whether it’s the way you hug, or touch or say goodbye, or share anything from a food to a toy, you can still do that virtually,” Ricord said.

She suggests getting creative on video calls with grandma by keeping the kids engaged throughout the call.

“For young children, you can do little songs, finger plays and little games with them,” she said. “For older children, you can do digital treasure hunts or research-based things that are really helping them do things that are interesting to them.”

For more ideas on how to help your child learn through love, check out 5B45kids.com.

Additional Resources:

NAEYC Technology Guides/Resources 

Erikson Institute Resources 

Fred Rogers Center – Digital Media and Learning 

KSL 5 TV Live

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Children can still feel love through screen time interactions, experts say