I read an article on the New York Times website, “Toddlers’ Favorite Toy: The iPhone,” about the popularity the smartphone has with our babies. I agreed with the benefits of easy and accessible learning tools offered via toddler-based apps, but I also agree with the old saying that there can be too much of a good thing. As parents, we can see firsthand how our children learn while participating in day-to-day activities.
Tovah P. Klein, the director of Columbia University’s Barnard College Center for Toddler Development, said, “Children at this age are so curious and they’re observing everything. If you’re engrossed in this screen you’re not seeing or over-serving or taking in.”
Think about you regular routine. Are there things that you do regularly that you can turn into learning opportunities? For example, does your child have downtime with a smartphone or tablet while you’re cooking dinner in the evening? Change it up and let your child be hands-on with you. Think about how much help you could receive when your little one is excited over new “big kid” responsibilities. You may just find yourself a regular dinner helper!
What can we do when electronics have become easy distracters for our children? We introduce them to new hobbies, and leave the electronics for the occasional treat.
The Non-Technology Hobby Route for…
- Make a small garden in your yard
- Start a rock or leaf collection
- Buy a cheap camera and let your little one start taking his or her own photographs (Kudos if you can find a Polaroid camera for quick results!);
- For children who love race cars and monster trucks, create DIY race cars and dump trucks or join a local go-cart league can make their interest come alive!
- Scrap booking;
- Reading and writing;
- Learning musical instruments
- Taking part in the local theatre.
- Introducing your child to new hiking trails and day tripping on the weekends to find new locations,
- Introducing your child to sports. In many areas, once your child reaches the age of three or four, they are eligible to join soccer, martial arts, gymnastics, karate and even dance companies!