Are we proud that we use iPads and iPhones as distractions, no not really. Are we ashamed we using iPads and iPhones as a distraction, no not really. The responsible or sensible way to allow a child to use these tools is to be aware of what your child is doing on it. Early on P. would just play learning games on the app. Now that she’s four, her level understanding how to use everything on them has increased. She tends to migrate more to movies and tv shows right now so I do find myself guiding her to use the learning apps more. She has found youtube but the times I’ve noticed her using it she’s watching the mickey mouse tv show in hungarian. Which has really sparked her interest in foreign languages. So an iPad can open new doors for your childs interests. For now I’ve removed access to such app as Youtube and Safari. A 4 year old doesn’t need to surf the net.
We definitely have to curb the usage a lot these days. When she was little we did down time right before bed with all 3 of us in bed. Now that preschool is becoming a bigger learning environment we no longer allow iPad before bedtime during the week. Instead she’s allowed to do downtime on the weekends. This allows us to focus on reading stories at bed time during the week.
Another important part of monitoring your child's usage of tools like these is updating apps. I am not talking about updating an app with a new version. I am talking about taking off all the younger kid age apps she’s no longer interested in and installing new apps that push her learning curve or peaks her interest. So I dub this App Spring Cleaning, which has come late this year. P has a lot of new interests, like being a doctor, words, color combinations and math. Lots of Math! I am also finding a lot of new apps that will help P. understand things like geography and storytelling more. She’s very interested in telling and making stories up.
Then there is the problem of your child being obsessed with the iPad or iPhone. You know its time to cool off on the thing when your child gets hurt and the first thing out of their mouth is “My iPad needs me”. Worse is your child says “My iPad loves me”. Okay it’s time for a break! So for now the iPads and iPhones are off limits or in timeout. Perfect timing for some spring cleaning. So yes there is a downside to it’s usage, it an object, so it can easily become comfort tool. Just like a blanket.
Some of the recent additions we've grabbed on itunes include, Team Umizoomi Math, Geomaster, Math Bingo, The Opposites, Story Telling HD, Albert