Question: We don't allow our 3-year-old to use
technology at home, but he seems obsessed with the computer at his
day care center. Should I be concerned?
It's not unusual for children to look forward to computer
activities-or any activities-at school that they do not have access
to at home.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend
screen time for children 2 or younger, use of technology in day
care programs varies greatly. Some day care centers may make
computers and tablets available to children even younger than 2.
Others may minimize technology access for kids under 5.
Talk to your child about why he likes playing on the computer.
Then, talk to your child's provider to get a clear understanding of
how the technology is used. Here are a few tips to help that
Understand the content. Are children using
games to learn colors, the alphabet or just to pass the time during
the morning drop-off? Ask to see the games the children are
Explain your concerns. There are many reasons
you may want your child to participate in activities away from the
computer. Talk to your child's teacher about skills you feel your
child needs to work on and ways to steer him to those activities.
"I'd prefer Timmy interact with other children at the train table
because I feel he needs to work on his social skills."
Find out about other activities. Activities you
see occurring during drop-off and pick-up may not accurately
represent your child's overall interest level. Ask how your child
reacts to other activities throughout the day, such as art or
Create a healthy foundation. Your habits at
home now will provide a foundation for a healthy balance between
technology and other activities later. For now, use family time for
reading and playing together. "I'm going to turn my phone off for
the rest of the night so we can read some books together and
Sharon Cindrich is a mother of two tech-savvy kids from Virginia Beach. Learn more at sharoncindrich.com.
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