IPads whilst convenient and fun, can limit the scope of potential holistic development in children. Simulated experiences don’t address physical dexterity, strength, tactile, sensory or social development.
Here’s some tips we’ve learnt from child health professionals to assist with transitioning our children off the iPad and onto another activity;
1. At the beginning of play time with your child let them know 2-3 successive activities you will do together e.g. “today I thought we could do some dancing and build a puzzle together, then we need to peg the washing out on the line. After lunch, you can play your iPad while I get the washing up done.” Mixing up physical activity with sedentary activities helps regulate the child’s physical needs and they are more likely to stay engaged.
2. Limit iPad use to shorter bursts in any day, no longer than 30 mins at a time. Set this limit at the start of the usage and prepare the child for the transition to the next activity by setting a timer for 10 minutes, then at 5 minutes calmly let the child know the remaining time of usage.
3. Inclusive language assists children to feel part of the experience and not just “told” what to do. Demonstrate your willingness to invite and play with your child by starting the activity yourself and voicing your joy and curiosity.
Replace an outpouring of words with sounds and physical gestures. Offer your child the toy/ game piece/ activity part to give them a turn of the joy you are experiencing. Again, this doesn’t necessarily need words. In this way the child learns to read your body language and facial expressions whilst not being bombarded with instructions.
Most importantly, enjoy the play time with your child, as its your attention that they desire and respond to the most.