As parents, we are often confused about whether we should allow our children to experiment and learn to use technology at such an early age. After all, we didn’t need or use it growing up, and we turned out great, right? However, times are changing, and children are learning to use technology faster than we ever have.
Young children love drawing pictures using simple drawing programs on computers and iPads. Since your preschooler is learning numbers and letters, using a word processing game or software can be fun. In fact, there are tons of interesting games and lots of educational content that you can download for every age group.
Since this is the age when he/she is developing cognitive skills rapidly, your child will quickly get addicted to games that have a right and wrong answer, matching colours/shapes, animal related and basic strategy games that take him a level higher. The cause and effect relationship slowly becomes obvious and hooks your little one in.
Yes, computer games and programs can be fun and educational for children. Studies show that for children between 5-7 years old, screen time (including TV, DVDs, ipad and Computers) should not exceed two hours a day. This is because:
· Young children learn best on interaction with others. It helps develop language and social skills.
· Lifetime habits are often developed during these formative years. It isn’t in your child’s best interest to rely on a computer for something to do or to kill boredom.
· Although using computers may stimulate imagination and creativity, they do need to explore the real world and pretend play.
You can help your child on journey in digital literacy, and here’s where you can start:
· Whenever your little one is spending time on a computer/device, sit with him/her and show interest. Explain what is happening on screen, and suggest what to do next.
· Rather than just passively talking, ask questions. “How do you play this?” “What happens if you move this item here?”
· Download software that fosters creativity, such as making up stories or rhymes. It will allow your children to express things that they don’t have the words for. Help your child to choose a background, character, etc.
· Encourage your kids to play with siblings and friends, for example a dual player game.
· Lay down the rules in terms of how much time is allowed. Too much computer time causes eye strain, back/waist problems, headaches and hand injuries to your young one.
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