Should preschool children be given iPads?
Of course the easy answer is no. Small children should be learning through play and getting outside in the fresh air. The need to be talking and making messes and experiencing things first hand. They shouldn’t be spending hour upon hour staring at a screen.
However this is the real world and it’s full of technology. Unless we live in a house with no computers or laptops or tablets then to say children will never get to play on them is for me unrealistic. As with everything I think its a question of balance and moderation. For every 1 minute spent looking at a screen children need 5 minutes playing outside or doing something creative. Although it’s tempting, computers shouldn’t be used as babysitters – also because they are incredibly fragile as I know to my cost – our tablet still has a crack on the screen from being dropped one to many times. If they wake too early in the morning then it’s sooo tempting to give them a tablet or mobile to play on and catch a few more minutes sleep and yes of course I’ve done it.
But I try to keep it for a distraction. When they just need something different to do to break up an argument or I want them to sit quietly for a few minutes. And yes for when i want to sit quietly for a few minutes.
Articles on Limiting Screen Time in young children
Guidelines from the APP on screen time: Media and Children from APP
House Rules for Tablet Use
(and yes of course I break them – especially on a bad day)
1. Keep to a time limit. I sometimes use a timer for this as it’s easy to get sucked in
2. No arguments – when the time is up no complaining or they can’t use it next time.
3. Play with someone else preferably an adult.
4. Put tablets away when not in use.
5. Use quality apps (with educational content if possible)
6. No tablets/mobiles at bedtime
I do try to model this myself and limit the time I spend on my mobile when I’m with the girls. This is the hard part really. I can set rules for them but it is tricky not to get sucked in – five minutes on the internet checking social media and emails can quickly stretch to an hour.
Buying a tablet
At the moment I would not consider buying a tablet just for the children to use. In the same way I’m not a fan of having computers and TVs in bedrooms – I think it’s better if it is a family gadget – then the control stays in my hands and not the children’s. It is easier to limit their access then. it also marks it as different from a toy and therefore means they will treat it better. I haven’t had chance to try any of the tablets specifically for children.I prefer children to use a normal tablet with children’s apps added to it. If you’re looking to buy a tablet then don’t forget to check out MyVoucherCodes for vouchers to use and get money off. You can also look here for deals for tablets.
Five Fun Apps for Toddlers
These are our current favourite apps for the girls:
1.Toca Band from Toca Boca
All the apps from Toca Boca are great for young children. Lots of fun and they appeal to children of a wide range of ages.
2 The Lorax from oceanHouse Media
I love all the Ocean house media ebooks but the Dr Seuss ones are lots of fun. Reading on the iPad is somehow more fun than a book – the sound effects are great too and add to the story. The only problem is there are a lot of pop ups and this could lead to children buying things accidentally.
3. Peppa Pig’s Party
This is a fun app which is great for a few children playing together. My girls really love the pass the parcel game.
4. Minnie Bow Maker from Disney Junior
The girls love Minnie Mouse and this app is a big favourite. This is an unashamedly girly app – where you make pretty bows for each of the characters.
5. Cbeebies Magazine
This is found in the news stand and you need to buy each edition. I like buying the Cbeebies magazine for the girls and app is the same quality. Fun educational games based on the characters from their favourite Cbeebies shows. This is a bit harder so definitely one to do together.
More apps for toddlers
So what’s your favourite app for young children? Do you have any rules for tablets and young children?