Two nurseries have banned parents from using mobile phones during pick-up to encourage them to talk to their children.
Cumnock’s Barshare is one of two nurseries in East Ayrshire to introduce a ‘no phone zone’ on the premises.
The move emerged when councillors were presented with a report about boosting early language and communication among children.
Parent representative Jacqueline Livingston said: “I see parents pick their children up from nursery and they are on their phone. They are not talking to their children.”
Speech and language therapist Alison Gooding said ‘no phone zones’ operate at Newmilns and Cumnock’s Barshare nurseries.
Ms Gooding told councillors: “It is sad that we have had to come to this.
"Parents are not allowed their phones when they come into the early years establishments.”
She pointed out how prams are being developed with slots for mobile phones and added: “This is the world we live in. It is tricky.”
Council leader Douglas Reid said: “It is quite frightening. You go on public transport and folk don’t talk to each other.”
The ban on phones is to be rolled out at other in East Ayrshire early childhood centres and there have also been proposals to promote a no screen day for children as it can hamper development according to studies.
The speech therapy team have been trying to close the gap in language between children from deprived backgrounds and those from more affluent areas.
Speech therapy team leader Louise Steel said: “It is about breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty.”
Depute council leader Elena Whitham said: “To close the attainment gap we need to get to these wee people as early as we can.”
A report which went before councillors warned: “Vocabulary gaps are already evident in children at 18 months. These gaps hinder reading, reduce learning and can lead to life long disadvantages.”