While your baby may not be walking yet, he or she is hopefully making great strides forward when it comes to eating, playing, and developing. It’s hard work growing up!
The new world of screen time
In 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced it was reviewing its policies on screen time for children younger than age 2. In October 2016, the AAP announced its new guidelines. According to the new recommendations, children ages 0 to 18 months should only have access to digital media to video chat. Between 18 and 24 months of age, the AAP recommends one hour of supervised screen time each day. From ages 2 to 5, the recommendation is also for one hour of screen time daily, with an emphasis on educational programming.
According to a survey from Common Sense Media, more than 38 percent of children younger than age 2 have used a mobile device. Many have also used tablet devices, such as iPads, to play games and watch kid-friendly shows and/or movies.
Why is the AAP revisiting its policies? Statements from the organization’s doctors said they are simply addressing the digital age in which we live. Screens are everywhere, and now educational iPad games are directed toward toddlers as well. While the AAP hasn’t made new recommendations, experts do acknowledge that keeping screen time to nothing for a baby younger than 2 is very difficult (if not impossible) in today’s society. While parents need to look out for the updated recommendations in 2016, the AAP still encourages parents to supervise any content babies see and to continue engaging babies in play as much as possible.
The low-down on sibling rivalry
As your 8-month-old starts crawling and grabbing at items, it’s likely he or she is going to start reaching for your older child’s toys. This can present new challenges on several levels: your older child can get upset and not want to share while your younger child cries.
Adjusting to a new little one brings many challenges for your older child. As your 8-month-old continues to explore, opportunities emerge to teach both about sharing and interacting with each other. Some ways to keep both siblings happy include:
- Helping your older child choose some toys that are off-limits for the baby. This will help your older child feel like he or she has “ownership” over special toys and encourage healthy boundaries with your baby.
- When a conflict arises, explain to your older child that your 8-month-old just wants to play and the baby isn’t trying to be selfish or steal toys.
- Give both children time. They don’t always have to play together. In fact, playing individually can be beneficial to both sometimes. You could try reading to your younger child while your oldest plays with his or her favorite toys and vice-versa.
Fostering a respectful play environment can help your little ones play as peacefully as possible. Remember that sharing is a learned behavior, so this will take time.
About food allergies and food introduction
When you introduce new foods to your little one, the best approach is to take it slow. Not only does this give your baby time to adjust to a new food, it makes it easy to identify potential allergens.
The list below contains some of the most allergenic foods. Remember that just because these foods are common allergens doesn’t mean your little one will have a reaction. However, it’s a good idea to pay special attention when introducing children to:
New research has led to a change in the recommendations for introduction to peanuts. Parents are now encouraged to give peanut products (a solid peanut would not be recommended as it is a choking hazard) as part of the routine introduction of solid foods. Parents should discuss peanut introduction with their pediatrician if they have any questions.
When you do introduce new foods, be aware of common allergic reactions. If your child experiences the following reaction symptoms, talk to his or her pediatrician about an appropriate action plan (and avoid the food until then):
- Facial, tongue, and/or lip swelling
- Flushed skin
If the reaction is severe, such as difficulty breathing, severe swelling, and/or vomiting, call 911, and seek immediate medical help.