We all know screen time is problematic. As parents and caregivers we make a concerted effort to limit our children’s time sitting in front of a TV, computer, tablet, etc... and science supports our efforts. We know that children who spend too much time in front of screens experience significant physical and developmental disadvantages. This can’t be disputed.
Therefore it’s absolutely understandable that you, as a parent or caregiver, would be concerned about enrolling your child in an online class or experience. But here’s the difference with Music Together® Online: YOU! When children stare at a screen and passively receive information, they don’t really retain it, nor do they learn from it the same way as when they have active participation of a caregiver or parent.
Recent updated recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics address and discuss the ubiquity of electronics in our modern lives and how to balance that with appropriate use of screen time for young children: "Parents can set expectations and boundaries to make sure their children's media experience is a positive one. The key is mindful use of media within a family." The AAP also states that "it's critically important that [the media our children consume] be high-quality programming" and "parents [and caregivers] of young children should watch media with their child, to help children understand what they are seeing." (AAP, October 2016).
The AAP’s recommendations include limited, adult-attended screen time for children starting from 18 months; a limit of 1-hour a day of "high quality programming" for children aged 2–5. What does that mean for those of you with children younger than 18 months? How can MTO still benefit your child?
Just like in our classes, YOU are still the most important part. In a Music Together Online® class, Ms. Emily will be on the screen, but it is truly the interaction of the parent/caregiver with the child that is going to continue their music development, along with providing lots of chances for musical activities and interaction throughout the week in your home between classes! MTO gives you, the adult, the resources and guidance in how to make your family a musical family, at every age. Modeling what you see and learn in our online classes for your young child is where the true learning will take place. The opportunity to replay our videos when it’s appropriate for your child, used in conjunction with your collection recordings and songbook, and the activities suggested by your teacher give you the tools to create a diverse and immersive musical experience in your home. One solution that has gained traction in the Music Together® community is for the adult to watch the videos, and then recreate the experience with your child in a screen-free environment. Just like when we were all coming together for live classes, you take what you learn and then recreate it at home! The videos are simply one resource for you, the adult caregiver, to use and to assist and inspire you in your family music-making at home! Home is where the majority of learning happens for young children, from their best models: their parents and caregivers!
At Music Together® City Sing And Play, I value your input and constantly strive to meet your needs. Please don’t hesitate to share a concern or suggestion with me! We are all in this together, as we say at MT, making this world a better place by making it more musical. As long as we continue to Sing And Play, we will continue to make the best of the situation!