Raising your kids in the 21st century means that you will eventually have to confront how to handle technology in your home and answer questions such as, "Should my kid have an iPad? How much T.V. should they watch? Which shows are appropriate for their age?" etc. There are many thoughts on this issue, but one thing that we can all agree on is that at some point kids will need to learn how to use tablets and computers and learn how to be responsible with their usage. It's inevitable.
Ryan and I both have jobs that rely on the latest apps and technology. You could say that way are early adapters. In fact, much of our home is automated using things like nest, Google Home, Alexa, Sonos and more. Our belief is that interacting with technology at an early age can greatly benefit their development and literacy, but it all depends on finding the right apps, the right shows and being a part of their screen time.
We have an iPad that our kids use. It's password protected and it's monitored. They are never allowed to be alone with an iPad and they must ask permission. They also know their way around Alexa and Google Home, so at any given time you can find them asking to play music. Technology is something that they have come to love as well.
Some of the apps that we love for Elle (age 4.5) in particular are:
- The OSMO app. It's ground-breaking technology that allows kids to use their creativity and fine-motor skills to draw, write and even code. What they create on the white pad is then brought to life by the app in real time and put into a story. It's incredible, and it's something Elle begs to do all of the time.
- Monkey Preschool Lunch Box is another app that Elle started using at 3 years old. It really helped her learn shapes and colors. At the completion of every round you get to collect a sticker. That was always Elle's favorite part.
- Bible for Kids app. It's an audio book for kids that reads to them Bible stories along with animation. It asks questions at the end of each story to help with reading comprehension as well. We love doing this together.
- Infant Zoo is an app that both of my kids loved when they were babies. It works kind of like a rattle and makes animal noises. It's a very simple app, which is refreshing.
Our kids are allowed to watch T.V. Some days they will watch more than others. We try to keep it to just two hours of screen time day (one hour in the morning and one hour before bed). The shows that we love for our kids are:
- Storybots - a really funny educational show where robots ask big questions like,"Why is the sky blue or where do french fries come from." It's so funny that I love watching it with them.
- High Five - It's a sing and dance along show that's not animated. Levi loves to dance with it and it's very educational. You can find it on Netflix.
- Justin Time - An animated show where the character travels back in time and teaches kids about the history of the world and different cultures.
I guess you could say there really isn't a battle over the screen. We fully embrace technology and let our kids interact with it throughout their day. There's so much good to be found in letting technology be a part of your kids' lives.
Photos by Rennai Hoefer