My fraternal twin girls are 4 ½, and to date, they’ve had almost no screen time. Within the past couple of months, we’ve started watching a weekly episode of a show on the Animal Planet, but prior to that, our girls had not watched any TV. We have very few battery-operated toys. And outside of some limited exposure at preschool last year, the girls had not had any practice with computers.
I’ve been lamenting over this for a long time now. Certainly I don’t want the girls to fall behind the technology curve over the long-term. I don’t want them to feel intimidated by new gadgets. I want them to embrace technology and learn to use it to their advantage. But I didn’t want it to interfere with our block-building, book-reading, artwork-making, pretending-playing-filled days.
After lots and lots of conversation with my trusted mommy friends, as well as the girls’ preschool teachers last year and this, I finally decided that it was time to introduce technology into our days, via the iPad.
The girls’ four-year old preschool teacher seemed to best understand my concerns. The girls already love to learn. I didn’t feel it was necessary to augment their math and phonics with learning apps. She agreed. She talked about them learning the infrastructure of technology, though…developing an inherent feel for navigating the hierarchies of menus…feeling the drive of curiosity to figure things out and make technology work for them. She suggested the iPad (over other tablet-type devices I was considering), rationalizing that the girls might as well learn in a “real” forum, using software that will be applicable to them for the foreseeable future.
Yesterday we bit the bullet. We purchased two iPad minis, one black and one white.
I have talked with the girls that their iPads will be one of the many activities that they do throughout the day. I was frank in telling them how important it is that they continue to enjoy everything they already love…building, drawing, pretending, reading.
I am confident that I will be disciplined in allowing time on the iPad, and I hope that my girls will be responsible in respecting the family rules. I want them to have fun, but I don’t want to look back and see this as a major shift in the way we do things around here.
So…how do you schedule screen-time for your kiddos? And being brand-new to the wide world of apps, I have no idea where to start…what apps do you recommend for Kindergarten-level skill-building?
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MandyE blogs about over-thinking parenting, along with her adventures with her girls, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.