There’s no denying technology is an absolute staple in our homes, from tablets, laptops, tvs, and phones it’s impossible to avoid screens. Today we at Kinder Buddies want to talk about ways to introduce technology to pre-schoolers so that they form a healthy relationship with technology.
Hands-On over Screens
While incredibly useful tools for learning, it’s important to recognise that screens are only a part of the learning journey for children. Small children actually learn best when interacting with their environment. That doesn’t mean that technology isn’t useful! Screens provide interactive storytelling, improve language skills, and are incredibly useful tools that your children will eventually use every day. It’s important to teach our children to appreciate technology while not completely relying on it.
When introducing your child to screens it’s very important to remember that screens can be very addictive, especially for young children. The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends limiting children 2-5 years less than an hour a day; Children age 2 and under should abstain from all screens.
Some tips for maintaining time limits:
- Set alarms that let your child know when play time is up.
- If possible provide a 5 minute reminder before play time is up so they can prepare to shut down.
- Set consistent limits on play times (Ex: Only on weekends/Only in the evening)
It’s well known that screens can mess with our circadian rhythms and disturb sleep patterns; make sure there is no screen time at least an hour before your childs bed time.
Make sure the content your children are interacting with is age appropriate; use Parental Controls to avoid any curious accidents. Certain activities are incredibly useful for your child such as facetime/skype with family or physically interactive games like Wii Sports. Make sure to review all apps before your kids use them, check out reviews to see other families experiences.
Out of sight and out of mind could not be more true! Keep screen toys to one open room where you can monitor your childs use. Keep computers and tablets out of your kids bedroom. If your child often plays with their toys in their bedrooms if the tablet is in the living room they may be less likely to reach for it. Avoid background tv during learning or playing especially in younger children as it can be distracting.
At the end of the day it’s important to recognise that our children are copying everything we do! In order to encourage our children to have a healthy relationship with technology we need to have one ourselves. You don’t have to throw out all technology, just be more aware of your own attachment. Designate “Tech Free” times with your children and avoid bringing your phone with you to the dinner table. Not all solutions work for all families, just find a happy medium that works for yours!
Kinder Buddies is a Quality First Daycare and Infant Care facility in Oakville, Ontario. We take care of children from the age of 6 weeks to 5 1/2 providing nutritious meals and fun activities all day long.