Does your two-year-old need an iPad?
by Kelly Brough
Technology and Kids is one of my favourite topics, and I am very much pro letting kids explore and feel comfortable with technology. I love that my 6 year old knows more of the functions on the TV than I would ever bother to figure out.
But I also am keenly aware of the effect all this technology has on my own kids’ moods, motivations, and overall happiness. And so I spend lots of time finding alternatives to the digital entertainment they favour. It’s always a delicate balance of what makes them happy, what makes me happy, and what gives me enough free time to accomplish the basic household tasks with a little work in between.
Recently, I asked a few friends about some toddler technology products I was evaluating for Oola, with the key question being should I sell these or would you just give your child an iPad. I was legitimately surprised at the number of parents who would rather share their iPad, with all the inherent risks of handing a 2 year old a rather expensive piece of technology, than purchase a more durable and toddler focused device.
I am perfectly transparent about the fact that I mainly sell toys that encourage to do stuff away from technology. This is where I find both parents and kids need more ideas to keep playtime fresh and interesting. But digital entertainment is a permanent part of our world, so what age is appropriate to get them started?
2-3 year olds
Screen time is probably best spent where kids learn songs and see stories unfold with age appropriate characters. They might like occasional time with an iPod or iPad but mainly are mimicking the behaviour they see from mum and dad or older siblings. One app to try is: Zoodles by Inquisitive Minds. It has a kids safe mode and content that develops with your child.
4-5 year olds
At this age, the urge to watch TV and play video games gets stronger, and the benefits of following a story that develops as they watch or play should ideally reinforce the concept of plot development as they get ready to read. One app to try for this age group is: The Monster at the End of This Book by Sesame Street. It’s more ebook than game, but that’s just about right for this age group.
Don’t forget that kids are still developing motor skills and basic coordination throughout these years. Screen time is an addition to the entertainment arsenal that we can select to maximise the positive impacts on our children.
When would you give your child an iPad?
Kelly Brough is the owner of Oola – Fun toys that teach which specialises in proving unique and stylish toys that make playtime fun. All of the toys mentioned in this article can be found at speciality retailers in Australia, including Oola.com.au.