Getting the best from gadgets

Every day, new educational apps are developed and tablets can be a wonderful learning tool for children and parents to use together.

But make sure they are one of many things you use to teach and entertain your children, not the only thing. Their brain is at a stage where they need to hear and practice language. The one-way barrage of language from a gadget doesn’t teach them nearly as well as the interactive to-and-fro speech that happens with normal parental interactions. It’s a pity if our voice is always competing with the chatter from TV or the noise from a gadget.

The best way to use a device is with a child, rather than just leaving them alone with it. Children learn best in the context of warmth, security and your interaction rather than in the isolation of an electronic bubble. Have them in your lap or beside you so that you are physically touching and talking together. In that context, a tablet is probably as good as a book. On those occasions when you do want them to play alone with a gadget, let them know it will be for a fixed time. Set a timer on the stove or on the device itself.

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About Author

Jenny Hale

Jenny Hale is our Senior Family Coach and we’ve been lucky enough to have her on our team for 19 years now. Once upon a time, Jenny was a teacher. These days, she spends her time supporting our team of Family Coaches, training new ones, and travelling around the country talking in preschools, schools and churches. She loves working with families and helping them find solutions to the challenges they face with behaviour and parenting. Jenny has been married to Stuart for 40 years and adores being a grandma to her grandkids (who live just 1km away). She needs a support group so she can stop buying books for them. She’d love to raise free-range chickens, write children’s books and perhaps even take up horse-riding again.

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