Whether you like it or not, ALL technology is equipped with a homing beacon that attracts children to it. From drool on your phone, to fingerprints on the TV, to PB&J jammed in the home button of your tablet, there's no denying, your child's obsession with everything tech.
Being a know-it-all first-time mom, I was determined to fight it. I wanted my kid to develop motor skills the old fashioned way, with wooden blocks and board books. I had grand plans of him playing outside every waking hour and reading books on his own by three.
Above all, under no circumstance was he going to have tech time before ten.
Oh. What. A. Fool. I Was.
Eventually, he wore me down. I caved, and handed over my phone.
Five minutes passed, and not a word or sound from my toddler.
Which, in toddler minutes is like four and half hours.
Slowly but surely, I gave in to my toddler's tech time demands.
But not without doing the research and monitoring his use like the worst kind of Helicopter parent.
Below are my lessons learned in the form of my best tips to maximize tech time:
Create a safe space. On both my smartphone and tablet, I have a folder titled, Ollie. This folder is just for my child, with only apps I have approved. He loves it because he thinks it's his special place. I love it because I can add and delete his apps, and most of all, keep them organized. No more 200
apps spread out all over my phone.
1. Free is Fun: Thanks to the incredibly short attention span of toddlers, the Lite or free version is normally more than enough to entertain them. If a Lite version is not available, search for a similar one. As your child gets older, make paid apps something they have to 'earn'.
2. Let There Be Learning. When I caved to my toddlers tech demands, I insisted he could ONLY play learning games. For the most part, it's stuck. There are literally millions of children's apps. With so many of them offering fun educational games, it's not been too difficult to keep his attention while learning. #MomScore
3. Monitor the minutes. Even though tech time can be educational, it's still screen time. I limit my child's tech time to 20 minutes before nap. It helps hi to calm down and relax before nap, and I have a true cutoff time so tech time doesn't turn into a afternoon long affair.
4. Can't beat 'em, join 'em! Even though it's so much easier to hand over the tablet and collapse on the couch for my own quiet time, tech time can be fun for me too. I get to cuddle up to my little muffin and giggle way more than necessary at a funny part narrated from an eBook.
Or lately, while playing a family-friendly trivia game app, Brains: A Trivia Adventure, we've had a great time learning words and interacting with different levels of knowledge from Animals to pop-kid culture. I also LOVE when he gets a question "CORRECT!", and he beams with pride. My kid loves to learn as much as I love to watch him.
FYI: Brains: A trivia adventure is FREE, available on both Android and iOS . The app has a fun little path and story you follow while conquering levels and testing your child's knowledge about various things. Download Brains A Trivia Adventure now, on iOS or Android. Keep up with news and updates on social media, Here. Or for more information before downloading, check out the Sneaky Bruno Games Website.
I know as my son gets older, and demands even more tech time, my tactic will have to change along with the rules. Still, keeping these four fundamentals in place, will ensure that the tech time is quality time.
How do you ensure your child's tech time is productive?