A friend in the US has a beautiful little 2-year-old girl. Once when the duo had to travel to Turkey for work, the mother was perturbed. Her constant thought was how do I keep the child engaged on the long flight? Like most parents she also thought of handing over iPad to the daughter if she got bored on the way. Yet like a concerned mother, she was worried of giving her too much screen time. More than that, she didn’t want her to see just about anything on the iPad. Exasperated, she sent out a message on her Facebook account appealing parents to share with her some child friendly apps that are educational in nature. In response, she was bombarded with a whole lot of educational and entertaining apps appropriate for the little girl.
Surfing through the list, I looked at my 27 month old, expertly navigating through her father’s iPad watching all sorts of baby videos. I realized why didn’t I think of this earlier! She can have her screen time, learning something at the same time, giving me a guilt free feeling. Let’s accept it. We parents’ have failed to keep our kids away from technological gadgets that have become such an important part of our lives today. The American Association of Paediatrics (AAP) has always advised against any screen time for children under two years of age, and only two hours a day for those above two. However, with changing times, it seems AAP guidelines have been forced to undergo a change as well. The most respected authority in the world on issues related to children is going to shift away from the ‘no-technology’ stance for kids. They are taking into consideration the fact that technology is not beyond us anymore. It is in fact, a reality of the modern day life. Can we survive without it? Probably yes, but may be we don’t want to. Hence, the Academy is expected to announce the new guidelines sometime in Fall of 2016. However, it does say that screen time should be monitored for kids, while checking the content they are watching.
Inspired, I go to Google Play Store and try to download education apps for my girl. There is a huge list of apps that claim to be educational apps. Confused, I turned to internet again. I stumbled across a post by Dr Jordan Shapiro, senior fellow at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop on Forbes.com, in which he suggested scanning Common Sense Media which reviews age-appropriate apps, games and programs for kids of a certain age.
The Common Sense Media suggests choosing age and developmentally appropriate products for your little ones. It all actually depends on what the child’s interest is, and then what you would like the child to learn in terms of skill building, creativity, logic, social-emotional learning, and the like. And once, you know what to look for, read the description in the app store, it advises, at the same time not ignore user reviews.
Here are some apps that you might find helpful for your toddler. Most of them are available for free on Google Play Store.
Little Red Riding Hood
3 Little Pigs.
My Town Home
Curious George Shapes
Mother to a 28-month-old girl, first time mom Anu Bhambhani is a professional writer working in the content and communications space. Digital parenting is her obsession right now as her baby is growing up to become really tech-savvy. She is working from home, looking after her family and following Buddhism. When she is not writing, she is struggling to find time to go back to her first love, reading, and dancing. As of now, she has decided for dance, Zumba is the way to go.