Yo' Kid and Technology
I think all parents are struggling with their children's exposure to today's technology. How much is too much? What's a good age to expose your kid to technology?
Well, I honestly do not think there is a right answer to those types questions. There is major controversy about the topic.
I was definitely that mom though. Everywhere I went with Amelia, whether the grocery store, a doctor's appointment, whatever it was, I would put the Youtube Kids app for her and allowed her to just watch videos and play while I shopped or did whatever it was that I needed to do. It was my way of keeping her calm for the next hour or so. I began doing this when Amelia was about 2 years old. Amelia could not even say the word "you tube" when she got exposed to technology. She would call it "cu-cu". Whenever I needed some down time, I busted out the ipad. And I am not going to lie, it definitely worked. Amelia would play with the Ipad for as long as I allowed her too without saying a peep. It got to the point that she would come home from daycare and beg for the ipad. And she would be distracted with this thing for hours. Some days, I noticed her on that thing the entire afternoon. Whenever she would go to my parents' house, she would binge! We would go anywhere and all Amelia wanted to do was play with my phone. She would wake up in the morning and the first thing she would ask for was the iphone. All day Amelia was glued to the screen.
Now don't get me wrong, I am all for technology. Apple has great apps for kids; educational apps that requires the child to think. But like everything else, with limits. It was never my intention for Amelia to be so obsessed with her ipad. She was starting to not show interest in other kids. She would just grab my phone and sit in a corner somewhere and watch cartoons or play her games. That is when I knew I had to draw the line. I began to limit the amount of time spent on apple products and began replacing it with time together. When she got home from daycare I would allow her to play for about an hour. Once that hour was up, it disappeared. For the rest of the afternoon, I would have her spend some time doing some sort of arts and crafts and then the bedtime routine would begin. Slowly but surely I kept decreasing the time spent on the ipad and adding more time to arts and crafts or story time.
Now I am happy to say that Amelia rarely plays with our phones and ipad. I looked up ways to do fun stuff at home together. I know Amelia loves to dance, so I play her favorite songs on TV so she can jump around and dance all she wants. Instead of the ipad, I engage with her much more. She loves to color and do puzzles together. During bath time, I allow her to play with water toys and then we usually read a book together. Now that Aylah is here, she is my little helper prepping Aylah's bottle and helping me bath and get Aylah ready for bed. It's the perfect time spent. And when she does use the ipad, we are utilizing it with educational apps, learning our colors, the alphabet, numbers, etc.
So in my home, technology is not out of the question, but we do limit the time on it and what she is able to do on it. I no longer just put youtube kids on and let her binge. Instead I invested in educational apps for her to learn from and engage with her. Its a win-win.