Embarking Into the World of Technology

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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?

Recent posts on this topic:

“Generation App” by mrslubby

“How Do You Introduce Technology?” by MandyE

MandyE blogs about over-thinking parenting, along with her adventures with her girls, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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MandyE

MandyE is the mother of 4 ½-year old fraternal twin girls, Baby A and Baby B. (And yes, their names actually start with the letters A and B!) She worked in the marketing field for nine years before her girls were born, but these days she’s relishing the opportunity to be a SAHM, which she plans to continue until the girls start kindergarten. MandyE has been blogging at Twin Trials and Triumphs since her girls were a year old. Between her blog and her local Mothers of Multiples group, she considers the multiples community a huge part of her support system.

2 thoughts on “Embarking Into the World of Technology”

  1. My 5-year-olds did not go to preschool, but I did let them watch some PBS shows during the day when I needed to make lunch or get something done … SuperWhy, WordWorld, Cat in the Hat, etc. For ipad, we got a lot out of iTrace, Endless ABC, Preschool Monkey Lunchbox (3-4) and later PML Math, jigsaw puzzles, and a few interactive stories like The Monster at the End of the Book, which they did incessantly. Lately, we’ve been trying out Bugs & Numbers and Learn with Homer on the ipad to reinforce what they’re learning in Kindergarten. I feel like these shows and apps really helped them learn their numbers and letters (and especially the sound of each letter), and to write their names. They were starting to spell and sight read even before starting school, and they are aware of concepts like addition and subtraction. Even though they didn’t go to preschool, they’re on the same level or ahead of their classmates now. FWIW

  2. I try to keep my almost-5 y/o fraternal boys to no more than an hour per day (usually less or none) of screen time. In general they only ask for it occasionally, but I will also use it as a reward for good behavior or doing a dreaded task like cleaning up, if necessary (or if I need a break!).
    The Monkey Preschool Lunchbox games are a big hit and they love jigsaw puzzles and memory-matching games too. Interactive Telling Time is a really cool app for learning to tell time–great for beginner to advanced levels.
    I would also suggest getting a parental control app. We use Kids Place (android only, I think) which only allows access to apps you approve and prevents access to the internet, and it includes a timer that you can program to shut the device off after a pre-set (by you) amount of time.

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