Screen time for children is a massive debate.
Is it good? Is it bad? How much is too much?
Contrary to many child care agencies, I do not think it is the worst thing in the world if you give your young child a screen for half an hour here and there.
Look, we all need a break sometimes.
A break so that you have some time to prepare the dinner or do the ironing.
A break so that you can have a shower in peace knowing that your child is unlikely to move and potentially put themselves in danger because they are instead glued to the ipad.
A break to just take 20 minutes of quiet time to stop yourself going insane.
Let’s be realistic.
Our children are growing up in an age where they are surrounded by technology and learning to use these screens is going to be an important life skill.
Even schools have started using ipads and laptops, so you could consider your child’s screen time as ‘preparation for school’.
I’ve also noticed that if you give a child a maths worksheet, there is a distinct lack of motivation to get it done.
Whereas, you give them an ipad with a maths game or app, they’ll happily be at it for hours.
Screens don’t have to be the devil. Use them to your advantage.
There aren’t actually any official studies about the effect screen time for children has on their development. I think that if use is monitored and regulated, why can’t it be positive?
Don’t get me wrong, screens should NOT be used as a babysitter. You should not be plonking the kids down in front of the TV or ipad for hours on end. This can have a negative effect on their social skills and even their communication skills. There has to be a balance.
So, you allow screen time for your children. How do you go about choosing the right apps?
There are quite literally millions of apps to choose from. Where do you start?
I think the most important things to assess are
– Is this app age appropriate?
– What will my child learn from this app?
There are a few ways to do this. You can read the reviews left by other parents or you can download the app and dedicate some time to trying it out yourself.
Note : keep an eye out on the ads on free apps. Are these inappropriate? Can your child accidentally buy something?
Screen time for children can be brilliant.
This article from Parents.com offer up a great list of educational apps for children to get your started. Don’t have an ipad? Check out my some of my favourite educational websites for kids!
A quick google search including your child’s age range will also offer up many great options.