Before I dive into a few thoughts on leveraging iOS apps w/ your lil’n, let me just say that understanding learning and parenting is a journey, and I am definitely on that journey. These are a few things that worked well with our kid in leveraging the glitz and glam of technology. If my kid could, he’d spend a lot more time on the computer and on our iOS devices. Here’s my attempt at striking a balance between acknowledging all that is changing for his world to come, and taking the goodness that just plain old interactions and even boredom, have to offer.
- We’ve pretested the apps before introducing them to him, but we let him explore the apps on his own. He usually picks up on a few features we didn’t notice.
- We cap screen time, right now he’s up to an hour a day. He gets to make decisions about where he wants to spend that screen time.
- Let’s be honest, sometimes an electronic babysitter is useful – so we make some exceptions with screen time for reading and for drawing. That said – there are a lot of great apps that if you introduce an interactive element – you’ve just changed the whole value of that app to something way more powerful for your kid.
- We’re careful on sheer time staring at a screen. This is not really an issue as he likes to ration out his time throughout the day and not use it at a chunk, but I think it’s worth pointing out you want those eyeballs exercising themselves to focus on different distances, even for the parents.
- For some of the more video-game-ish ones, we still look for what there is to learn. Verbalizing strategies, asking questions on why he did it a certain way, its a good way to get that meta-cognition going.
There are other areas you might want to look into, like protecting your iOS device (they aren’t cheap), locking down unintentional calls if you’re worried (airplane mode’s great for this). We haven’t felt these concerns to much, so far I’m the only one that’s broken my iPhone…
If you’ve got some other tips that’s worked for you, please share 🙂 We would love to have them. Also, if you’d like to contact me, you can reach me at mom[at]apps4ikids[dot]com.