As the weather cools and the days get shorter, we enter that precipitous time when screens can become more prevalent in children’s routines.  A rainy lunchtime or after-dark dinner preparation throws all the best intentions out the window.

Not to suggest that all screens are the enemy…. A family movie watched together, an intro piano tutorial lesson on iPad or even a basic letter match game on dad’s phone while waiting for the Doctor are all opportunities to bond and nurture the enquiring nature of your little one.

Where we run into trouble is the unsupervised meanderings through games, channels and shows that can plunder the dopamine receptors of our littlie’s brains, often leaving them worse off in mood and temperament than the quiet time had intended.

Sedentary, and note the use of this word, screen time during early childhood can have long-term impacts on a child’s development.

For children younger than five years, there is strong evidence that sedentary screen time has negative effects on weight, motor and cognitive development, social and psychological wellbeing and sleep.

Weight

It is suggested that the impact of childhood weight gain comes through both the increased sedentary behaviour synonymous with screen time and/or through increased ingestion during particularly television viewing.

A notable and well documented piece of research undertaken by Elliott M Blass et al. measured how much Pizza and Mac & Cheese was