The use of tablets and too much screen time are often hot topics for parents. There’s a lot of debate as to whether letting kids use tablets is beneficial or detrimental to their growth and development.
There’s no denying that too much screen time can be problematic for kids. Studies have shown that it can impact your child’s sleep patterns and raise their risk for attention disorders and anxiety.
But, there are some benefits to consider when it comes to letting your kids use tablets. When utilized correctly, they can be amazing learning tools that actually help with your child’s development rather than hinder it.
So, how can you draw the line between using tablets as a learning tool and avoiding too much screen time? How can you take your child’s love of playing on a tablet into something that fosters curiosity and growth?
If it seems like your children are always asking for the same things to do on your tablet, meet them halfway by finding ways to make those activities educational. If they love watching YouTube videos, subscribe to some age-appropriate learning channels that will keep them engaged and teach them new things, all at once. They’ll love coming home to find that their favorite content creators have posted something new for them to watch.
Installing educational games and apps is another great way to keep your kids engaged, especially if they’re already always downloading games on their own. Some educational games can help with language and math skills, so if those are areas your child struggles in, you can use games they enjoy to supplement what they’re learning in school.
Games on tablets can also foster curiosity and stimulate your child’s imagination. Those are the kinds of characteristics that create lifelong learners! So, consider what your child likes most about using your tablet, and it shouldn’t be difficult to find ways to make those interests more educational.
Tablets can serve as educational tools that go beyond classroom subjects. They can also make it easier for you to teach your child about real-world experiences and what to expect when they’re about to face something new. That could include things like:
- Going to a new school
- Dealing with divorce
- Understanding a loss/death in the family
You can even use educational apps or videos to help your child prepare for something like their first visit to the dentist. By showing them videos of other children at the dentist so they know what to expect, they’re less likely to be overwhelmed or scared.
The more you utilize a tablet as an educational resource for life lessons, the more your child will do the same. If they’re unsure about how to handle something or approach something new, they’ll be more inclined to seek out information about it. That can make it easier for them to learn how to process things and cope in healthy ways, rather than letting a fear of the unknown lead to anxiety.
It’s not uncommon for teachers to allow tablets and digital devices in the classroom nowadays. Some schools even provide their students with tablets or personal computers. Whether your child’s school allows the use of tablets or not, you can still use one at home to expand on what they’re learning in class.
If your child brings home homework, for example, they can use the tablet to do research, watch presentations, or learn more about the topic at hand in a way that’s easier for them to understand.
If your child comes home and they’re particularly interested in something they learned at school, you can use it as an opportunity to continue the lesson. Maybe they learned about a specific period in history. You can watch videos together about historical events that happened during that time or take virtual field trips to places like:
- Art galleries
- Tourist attractions
- Specific geographical locations
- Historical landmarks
When your child realizes the scope of what they can learn and discover on a tablet, they’re more likely to use it to grow their curiosity and desire to learn, rather than simply for entertainment.
Finally, it’s important to note that every child learns differently. Before you feel guilty for allowing your child too much screen time or automatically assuming tablets are “bad,” consider your child’s learning style. Do they tend to absorb information better through visual stimulation? Are they auditory learners? Maybe they need hands-on experience for something to really sink in.
Tablets provide opportunities for your child to learn at their own pace and in their own style. While they aren’t replacements for what’s being taught in the classroom, they can be used in moderation to supplement those lessons, and help your child develop a passion for knowledge that will last well into adulthood.
Image Source: Unsplash