As a parent, you want to help your child to develop in the healthiest way possible. However, deciding how to manage app use for toddlers may be a source of worry. Many parents feel judged by others for giving their toddlers too much screen time, while others worry that they aren't making the most of the eLearning opportunities that educational apps present for young kids. Take a look at these common sense tips to help you find the right balance between screen time and the real world for your developing child.
Taking a Positive Approach to Educational Apps
With technology offering so many important educational benefits, it would be silly to try to completely shield kids from screens. By focusing on the right resources, you can find educational mobile phone and tablet apps that can help toddlers improve their vocabulary, become familiar with numbers, and develop a positive attitude toward learning. Apps can also spark toddlers' imagination, encouraging them to use their natural creativity. The app store is full of apps that aren't suitable for young kids, so the best way to find appropriate educational apps is to use a resource such as Disney Imagicademy
or PBS Kids
, which both supply safe and engaging apps to help your child learn.
How to Help Kids Use Apps Safely
As in all aspects of parenting, balance is key when it comes to managing your toddler's use of technology. Educational apps are great, but they should be used alongside other methods of encouraging your child to learn, such as looking at picture books together or engaging in creative play with other children. The most important thing is to interact with your child as often as you can. Why not use apps together, so you can enjoy spending some quality time with your child while they learn and explore? Turning app use into a shared activity also allows you to check that the apps your kids are using are appropriate for their age.
Fight the Feelings of Guilt
Many parents feel guilty for using screens to keep kids entertained in restaurants or during other activities that kids find boring. This guilt often arises from a general feeling that all screen time is bad and can inhibit a child's development. However, research suggests that not all screen time is equal. Pediatricians recommend reducing passive screen time
- such as watching TV - for children under two years old, but research suggests that actively engaging with a device, such as playing an educational game or talking to a relative on Skype, could be good for child development. By choosing apps that stimulate your child's brain, you can help them to develop normally without depriving them of the access to technology that most kids crave. A good approach is to purchase a device such as the Amazon Kids Kindle
, which gives your kids access to a fantastic range of age-appropriate apps and websites.
Conclusion: Use Your Common Sense
A common-sense approach to app use is probably the best strategy for today's parents. Encourage your toddler to engage with eLearning apps, while limiting the amount of time kids spend staring at a TV screen that demands no interaction from them. By balancing app use with good old-fashioned social interaction, you can raise kids who are happy, healthy, and well-adjusted to the modern world.