How too much screen time affects your kid's ability to learn at school

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More and more children are needing occupational therapy as a result of spending too much time inf front of the TV or computer.
More and more children are needing occupational therapy as a result of spending too much time inf front of the TV or computer.
Klaus Vedfelt

You’ll see, as soon as  your child is in Grade 1  you’ll be told they need  OT.” Mothers of preschool  kids are likely to hear this  from fellow moms at some point. And  it seems that an increasing number  of children are being referred for  occupational therapy (OT).  Parents are told their kids need it  because  they can’t skip properly or  walk on a balance beam. But does it  really matter? Surely they’ll get the  hang of these things sooner or later?  It matters a great deal, says Grade 1  teacher Kathy Whittemore of Edgemead  Primary School in Cape Town,  because these simple things affect a  child’s ability to learn. Over the years  she’s noticed a decline in the physical  abilities of many children, particularly  those coming into Grade 1. 

TOO MUCH SCREEN TIME

“In a class of about 30 pupils, it’s not  uncommon for at least 20 children to  need some form of intervention,” she  says. It’s not that teachers are jumping  on the OT bandwagon, Whittemore  adds. It’s simply become clear that  young kids are lacking certain skills –  and that the root of the problem is too  little play and too much screen time.  Cape Town-based occupational  therapist René Lynch-Clifford says she’s  definitely seen an increase in the need  for OT for children over the past three  to five years, especially in the three- to  six-year-old age group.

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