Let’s be honest, technology use with our kids can be a pretty touchy topic; it practically falls into the same category as choosing to breastfeed, or whether you believe in co-sleeping. Everyone has a different perspective or approach, which is why this month’s topic in our monthly series (hosted by Hannah Renee) we have teamed up to share our opinions on technology usage with our kids.
(Now that we have a newborn in the mix, I’ve been searching for creative quiet time games for Noah and Emmett to work on daily. I found this Melissa & Doug threading game on Amazon.)
Do you have an opinion on technology use with kids? Do you worry about being on your phone too much around your babies? For JD and I, we would prefer if our kiddos spend the majority of their day playing outside or using their imaginations upstairs in their playroom. That may not happen everyday, all day long, but we really try to make technology use a last resort or a special treat.
That doesn’t mean that we are anti-technology; I think a lot can be taught through proper usage. And let’s face it, we live in a world that runs around technology, so it would be a bit unrealistic to remove it completely from their lives. We do however monitor what they do with their TV/iPad time. For example, if they are going to be on the iPad, then they need to be working on puzzles or spelling. I would also like to note that we aren’t insanely militant about technology, and we do have family movie nights regularly – it’s just all about balance. 🙂
As far as worrying about being on my phone, I think about this constantly. Especially with being a blogger, that part of my life revolves solely around phone usage. It’s also easy to want to sit mindlessly on your phone to unwind after a crazy day. JD and I have had MULTIPLE conversations about being on our phone when we are with the kids and making conscious efforts to be present. One rule we always stick to is no phones/technology at the table.
What age did you or will you allow your kids to play with your phone, iPad, etc.? Do you restrict what they do on it? Will you buy them their own tablet? We started allowing “special” technology time around 18 months for our boys. By special, I mean, when we are in stressful environments or situations that require a lot of patience (something a toddler doesn’t quite understand) like doctor appointments or travel, that’s when we will allow the boys to work on puzzles, spelling, and educational videos. When we are at home however, we do not do iPads or phones. As far as buying them their own tablet…I’m not sure when we’ll be ready to do that. We currently have an older iPad, and the boys sit and work on that together. At this current stage in life, I personally don’t think a 3 and 2 year old need their own device.
At what age did you (or do you plan to) let your kids watch tv and for how much time per day? Certain tv shows/channels? Again, my kids started really watching TV around 18 months. Prior to that, they weren’t necessarily interested. I would be lying if I said that I have a set amount of time per day that they watch TV or that they only watch education shows, because the reality is, with two toddlers and a newborn, sometimes mama needs a distraction…which may or may not be in the form of a Disney film.
While we don’t have a set amount of TV time they receive regularly, we are conscious about it. For example, they usually get 30 minutes of a show they want to watch in the morning as I’m getting breakfast ready. Then later in the day if I need a distraction to get dinner ready or something accomplished, we will watch something educational. My current favorites for the boys are Super Why (which is show on Netflix) and LeapFrog: Letter Factory. Both focus on reading and the sounds that the letters make.
What are your/your babe’s favorite tv shows and movies? Are you concerned with the message it teaches and do you restrict any shows in particular? Our current go to shows would be Blaze and the Monster Machines (which touches on math and science), Super Why (works on reading), and LeapFrog: Letter Factory. As far as movies are concerned, Cars has been the boys favorite for a while. They also really enjoy Sing, Moana, and Harry Potter.
I’m not quite sure if I can think of any shows off the top of my head that we currently restrict, but rather we are just always aware of what is on the TV while the boys are around. Noah is extremely perceptive, and there have been multiple occasions where we have been out and about and he has heard a word, and then repeated it to me in later conversation. So making sure they are only exposed to age appropriate things is obviously important.
If you do not use iPad/iPhones as entertainment/distractions while out, what types of activities, toys, explanations do you use? We try to postpone the use of our phones while we are out at dinner or running errands, and instead I try to find ways to make what we are doing an “adventure.” The boys are really big in to their letters and going on adventures, so if we are eating dinner, we get out a menu and we search for certain letters and go over the sounds they make. If we are running errands, we might try to find different animals along the way or certain items like a treasure hunt. For whatever reason, if I call what we are doing an adventure, Noah and Emmett are all about it. I feel like that’s what parenting is, just finding creative ways to do the normal, everyday things.
So what are your thoughts on technology use with your kids? Do you have a set amount of time you allow your kids to use technology or watch TV daily? I would love to hear your thoughts! Just leave them in the comments below – then head on over to these other mama’s blogs to check out their thoughts on technology use with their kiddos!
Hannah Renee // Kacie Ellis // Tanya Taylor // Carla Thompson // Kymberly Janelle // Emily Lindsey // Stephanie Pollock // Camille Burley