Before our girls were born, I remember reading the AAP’s recommendation that children under age two not have any TV / screen time. I felt like that seemed reasonable. When the girls turned two, I stepped back to consider our TV policy. Our days felt very full with blocks and books and crafts and playtime at the park, so I decided not to make any changes to my approach.
Over time, I developed some convictions that – in my mind – extended from that line of thinking. By in large, I’ve stayed away from electronic toys altogether. The girls’ kitchen makes some noises when they “sauté” something on the stove, and they have a small electronic piano, but we spend very little money on batteries during the course of a year.
I know there’s a time and a place for everything…and different things work for different families…but to date I haven’t felt like my girls were missing any developmental opportunities without TV / technology at their disposal.
Our girls are now 4 ½. I feel like it’s time we introduced “technology” to them. And I have no idea where to start.
Last year, the girls attended three-year old preschool two mornings a week, and they’ll have a similar schedule this fall in four-year old preschool. I know they have limited exposure to iPads. That’s really my only baseline as I have tried to start shopping for something for our family…and the options seem pretty overwhelming.
Ultimately, I find myself asking, “What is it I hope that my children will get from using technology?”
I know that there are endless apps one can purchase…ones that focus on letters and numbers and geography…and I’m sure there are a million others. The little voice inside my head questions, though, that the girls have learned so much, and so easily, to date without the use of technology.
But if there’s value in self-exploration – in the form of apps – will a Nook, or a Kindle, or a Leapster suit our needs as well as an iPad?
Or, is what our girls really need at this age the exposure to navigating technology? And if so, would the iPad, with the more universal “language”, be the better investment?
Obviously, cost weighs into this decision. I can easily buy two Nooks for the price of one iPad. And that, of course, brings up another question…to share, or not to share?
So…I’m looking (as I always do!) to the awesome community of MoMs for some advice.
What do you see as the overarching benefit of technology for the preschool age group?
Do you have one medium (laptop / iPad / Leapster) for your kiddos, or does each kiddo have his own?
MandyE is mom to 4 1/2-year old fraternal twin girls, A and B. She blogs about their non-technological adventures at Twin Trials and Triumphs.