Today, we live in a digital world that's supported majorly with technology and while technology has changed our world, it also plays an important role in our child's developmental milestones. Thanks to the latest trends in the field of educational based technology, kids are now getting up close and personal with technology daily, at homes and at school.
But is there really a need to of making technology available only at a particular age? Not really, as technology also plays a very positive and vital role while a child is growing. Today with an introduction of smartphones and other mobile devices like tablet PCs and tablets, we have quicker and comfortable access to the internet at any time and any place. This makes it a must have for kids too, as they help promote and share knowledge and information that's related to child's day to day activities along with school based education.
What to buy?
There's a whole wide range of electronic toys and devices available in the market, that are great portable devices to teach your little ones. But deciding what to buy is difficult at times. But we as parents have a fair idea on what might suit our child and what products may excite him to learn. Remember, each child develops differently and would have their own learning milestones. So don't push too hard and do keep in mind the following guidelines while buying these products:
Pre-Nursery: 0-3 Years
It's an ideal age to introduce them to a variety of sounds and lots of colorful stuff. Look for products that feature sounds, are good to touch and feel and most importantly are 'play friendly' in terms of safety measures.
You can buy a stuffed toy that makes a sound, music rattles to make him giggle, something that lights up like a room monitor that glows and pick up books that have bright pictures and sounds too. All these would help a child learn the 'cause and effect' and learn via touch and feel. These will keep the child occupied for a little longer and will open a world of possibilities too.
Prep 2-5 years
At this age, a child needs to hear interesting sounds, see lots of movement around and touch and feel the stuff. This is indeed the most inquisitive age for our little explorers, so be very cautious on what you are gifting them. Encourage them to play with action figures that make sounds and are movable, interactive story books, electronic playsets and talking animals make creative buys.
To increase their learning, gradually introduce them to your smartphone that has a wide range of easily downloadable kid's applications for listening to rhymes or learning numbers, learning shapes & colors. Read them stories that are interesting and show them the moving images to keep them enthralled and entertained. Try creating learning with a theme, so that kids learn faster. Visit a Zoo and ask them to identify the animals!
+5 and above:
Once the kids are 5, it's different to keep a track on what technology they are getting exposed to. At this age, they'll no longer be interested to play with electronic toys or e-readers and would in time, reach out to the internet and play video games or other handheld games that have enhanced features like 3-dimensional effects.
So try to introduce them to a leap frog or similar educational electronics and let them choose what they need to explore. Make sure they are involved in physical activities too.
Screen time too needs to be fixed, as the bright images of the computer screen can affect their sensitive eyes. Don't let them get into a habit of only sitting on the computer. Change your passwords regularly. Offer kids other interesting things to indulge in. Reward or surprise them with gifts.
Please make sure to be around the child whenever they are on the laptop and keep a track what they are watching or reading. Let them keep experimenting independently with new things. Help them search for educational websites and other interactive games. Kids can also read and learn about science experiments and increase their knowledge bank.
While the technology is a boon, remember it is crucial for a kid to keep active in an environment where he is physically active. So opt for outdoor activities and let them explore the natural space. Do praise them in all that they do and inculcate their interest in technology and keep them exploring this amazing world.
Each child is different and with a whole wide range of electronic toys and devices available in the market, there are times when we as parents can't figure out what to buy and when is the ideal time to introduce them to new technology. These guidelines would help you make a better decision. By Ashima Mukherjee
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