Archive for January, 2014

Introducing Toddlers to Computers

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Computers have become such a part of modern life that it has become important to introduce them to children at an early age so that they are familiar with technology and better able to utilize it during their schooling years and beyond. Young children and toddlers can safely learn how to use computers and technology with the close guidance of their parents, at the appropriate age.

Teaching your child how to use computers is also a great time to bond with them while helping them learn important skills that will benefit them their entire life. Be sure that you interact with them and monitor them the entire time that they are using the computer, just as if you were reading them a book.

(Here at Gecko Parents we have a few tools for helping the process of introducing computers)

Around nine months of age is the earliest time to teach your toddler

Some parents prefer to wait until their toddlers are older before they introduce them to computers, but there’s no real good reason to wait if they show curiosity around computers. Toddlers can safely interact with technology when supervised. Most child development experts recommend teaching toddlers how to use computers starting at nine months at the earliest. At this age, children have developed the motor skills to be able to use computers including the ability to sit up on their own. Some choose to wait until their toddlers are 1.5 to 2 years old. There’s really no perfect answer as to what age is the best time to introduce them to computers, but nine months is the earliest time to consider it.

games for toddlers

Limit the screen time

Most child development experts agree that the amount exposure to technology and computers should be limited, especially at a very young age. The best way to do this is to limit the amount of screen time for your toddler. The time should be limited to about 20-30 minutes and most of your child’s free time should be spent on other activities. Limiting the computing sessions to 30 minutes is better when they are 9 months to 2 years old, and once they reach the age of 3 to 4 the time can be increased to up to one hour per day if the child wants more time on the computer.

Use games designed for toddlers

One of the best ways to introduce your toddler to computers is to use games designed for them. There are a wide number of interactive child development games on Sesame Street, Fisher Price, and other websites for toddlers. Be sure to avoid games designed for older children which can be fast moving and scary for toddlers. The games that you pick should be designed to teach your baby new skills, knowledge and creativity. Also be sure to use the appropriate filtering and parental control software on any technology that you use with your toddler, whether it is a tablet, phone or computer.

Start teaching your toddler when they show an interest

The best time to start teaching your toddler how to use computers is when they show an interest in them by grabbing at the keys on the keyboard or the mouse. Don’t try to force them to learn how to use technology but wait until they demonstrate some curiosity. If your toddler doesn’t show any interest in the computer, don’t worry about it. They will still have plenty of time to learn how to use computers in kindergarten, and a delay in computer interaction doesn’t mean that they won’t be highly proficient with them in the future at all.