You want to spend as much time as you can with your toddler. You want to do fun things like playing games, reading books and going to the park or indoor gym. While you enjoy your one-on-one time, you also have a home to manage, phone calls to make and a desire to have a bit of time to yourself — at least now and then. With a chatty and adorable toddler attached to your right hip, it can be challenging to get everything done.
This dilemma has caused you to consider using your tablet as an electronic babysitter for a small portion of the day. But you are concerned about handing over your tablet and are unsure if it will make your son or daughter less active and more reliant on electronics for entertainment. With these topics in mind, check out the following pros and cons to tablet time for tots:
Pro: Tablets Help With Learning and Literacy
Your toddler can use your tablet to learn words, numbers, shapes and more. Download some apps like “Toddler Flashcards,” which helps your child learn the names and sounds of animals, and “Busy Shapes,” which lets your kid move shapes around in a series of puzzles. ABCMouse.com features more than 5,000 interactive learning activities, many of which are designed for the preschool crowd. While you are catching up on emails or sorting through a pile of bills on your desk, your little one can be close by on your tablet, learning beginning science, math and art skills.
It’s important to note that certain tablets like the iPad Pro allow you to “lock” your screen into a certain learning app. This feature lets you know that while you are taking a quick shower or making dinner, your kiddo will not be able to buy thousands of dollars worth of toys from Amazon or get into your email or other private areas of your tablet.
Pro: Tablets Don’t Need to Replace Traditional Learning
Just because your child has access to a tablet for short bursts of time does not mean he or she will never want to pick up a physical book again. On the contrary, studies have found that since 2010, the year iPads were first released, the percentage of kids who read daily has not significantly changed. In fact, a study by Ofcom found that in 2010, 29 percent of kids read outside of school and in 2014, 41 percent of children did. In other words, your tablet can be a supplement to your toddler’s vast array of learning tools, not the only one.
Con: It Is Easy to Get Hooked
Let’s face it — tablets are a lot of fun. Given the choice between building a tower out of plain blocks and playing a lively and colorful game on your tablet, your toddler might end up begging for your tablet. If you give in too often, your young kiddo might get more screen time than is appropriate. Keep tabs on how often your child uses your tablet and if it seems like he or she is always asking for it. If you think it’s too much, either go cold turkey for a week or two or set a certain amount of time your child can be on a tablet and provide plenty of other options.
Con: Tablets Interfere With Physical Play
While it is possible that your toddler will want to spend time on a tablet rather than playing outside, tell yourself that you will not let this happen. Moderation is key, so be firm that you are calling the shots with the technology rules. Letting your toddler play a fun app for 20 minutes while you make some phone calls will not mean he or she will have a problem with obesity and a dislike of exercise.
What do you think about tablets for toddlers? Does your toddler or child have a tablet? Please leave a comment as I would love to read your thoughts.
*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.
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