MOM TO MOM
Advice on the latest gadgets for kids.
Every parent has faced the anxiety of letting go, allowing your child take the next step. It’s not always easy but it definitely makes for less stress if we arm them with the tools they need to succeed!
Sigh! My 4-year-old old isn’t a baby anymore. Oh alright, so she hasn’t been a baby for quite some now. But her enrollment into kindergarten this year is the pin that has burst my bubble. I’m nervous. I’m worried. I’m scared. I know I will cry.
I worry that she will find it hard to make new friends. I worry that teachers will be annoyed by her free spirit. I’m worried that I’m worrying needlessly. So how do I navigate this new world? How can I help her adjust even as I feel my heart race at the thought? As if that was not enough, there are the rapid and constant changes in technology revolutionizing the way our children learn and interact.
Have you seen this new generation of tech savvy toddlers and pre-schoolers? How they sit before their iPads and navigate through the menus, solving problems, taking photos and recording videos. Talk and chalk may still hold sway in many Caribbean schools, but it’s only a matter of time before computer labs—whether fitted with personal computers or iPads—are commonplace.
When my first daughter was two we would sit and fit together wooden jigsaw puzzles; two years later her sister is developing the same cognitive, memory and problem solving skills using a fun puzzle app on a Notepad. FACT: The tech world is theirs. FACT: They will grasp the concepts quicker than some adults! FACT: They are going to bump into it and it would be unfair not to introduce them to the enormous potential the technology offers. The game plan is to filter what we expose them to and ensure whatever we choose will add to their skill set.
Touching is intuitive: Children love the ability to touch. They know exactly what to do. They’re not afraid to explore. There are touch pads and exploratory tablets developed just for infants to 3-year-olds with their own learning curriculum. There are building blocks with computer sensors that are motion-and proximity-aware, so depending on which block you put where, they’ll sing, tell stories or do math puzzles. There are even some blocks that children can program using an iPhone. The iPad has endless stuff for toddlers, whether for learning ABCs or looking at picture books or listening to stories that are also interactive. Children as Content Creators: As children get a little older, they are becoming the content creators. They’re creating movies, pictures and stories. Let them. Multiple Learning Modalities: We’re getting away from the traditional “drill and kill” applications, where children are asked to solve a problem and if they get it right, a voice congratulations them. Things are getting more sophisticated with learning based on different modalities. For instance, if you can’t learn 1+1 one way, there’s an alternative way to learn it, such as through a story or a jigsaw puzzle.
So after two weeks of camp where she learned all about science and conducting experiments, I’ve told my excited girl that she will enjoy her new school and make lots of new friends. That she will learn tons of new stuff about her world and I’ve downloaded some new phonics and reading apps for her to use during the summer.
Kindergarten here we come!