There are so many toys that are out there for infants and toddlers that mimic our devices. About every 9 month old, and older, that I have met usually wants to grab for my phone or iPad.
With our first, hubby and I decided that instead of just fighting it or trying to change who we were a lot, we were going to smartly embrace it and allow our little one have limited screen time when appropriate.
We didn’t see the point of buying toys that mimic the real thing when they quickly become bored because they know it is really not the real thing. So, probably very unorthodoxly, we passed down our old iPad when we upgraded to our toddler.
I do not regret this decision and I truly believe it has helped him learn. He could match letters at about 14 months. He quickly learned shapes and colors and many other things and he has even started learning about music and multiple languages.
I know this is controversial so I am just going to say this works for our situation and our family and may not for yours. If you do find yourself, for whatever reason, giving your little some screen time, these tips might help out some.
1. Super Durable Case
Toddlers can learn how to destroy everything. They are clumsy and the last thing you want them to be clumsy with is a device that costs so much money. I love the HDE Kids Case. It comes in many colors so they can have their favorite (or we color code the boys’ so they know what belongs to them). It has a handle that doubles as a stand so it makes it really easy to carry around. It is also not super super bulky.
2. Kids Headphones
The last thing you want to do on a long car ride is hear the kids obnoxious game or movie. Let them enjoy their movie and you can catch up on a podcast or music or your front seat companion. I love the combination of price, durability, and quality in the lil gadgets kids headphones.
3. Downloaded Videos for Viewing
So many apps and videos require steaming capabilities which is just not always possible, especially on car rides. My older son now knows when we are in the car to look for a game that doesn’t require a network, but for the longest time he would always get upset if he had his device and his show stopped streaming. Netflix, Amazon Videos and many other streaming services allow you to download videos for viewing offline. Do this before a long car ride or plane ride.
Netflix, Amazon Videos and many other streaming services allow you to download videos for viewing offline. Do this before a long car ride or plane ride.
4. Find Apps / Games without ads
This may not be easy but do some searching for quality games and apps. There are many out there that are truly beneficial and educational. I personally love the Endless Alphabet series. Big boy has been playing this since he was about 11 months old and now plays music, reads with it and is learning Spanish. There are many apps that don’t cost much but offer hours of entertainment. Our favorite are some Thomas games that allow him to build full complex tracks. There are also several free apps that do not have ads that are quality as well. Several PBS apps that are free and companies such as Lego and Fisher Price also have an assortment of apps without ads.
5. Guided Access and Screen Time Restrictions
Last but not least, take some time to set up some restrictions. There are two types that I think are great additions to the iOS devices. One is Guided Access. Guided Access is actually an accessibility feature but it allows you to limit the screen to one set app and even further than that set limitations on what controls you have such as keyboard or volume or even screen rotation. Guided access also lets you set a timer for the app. This is a great setup for younger toddlers who are still learning how to navigate around. I use this especially when they are on my devices to make sure they don’t get somewhere they shouldn’t. Screen Time restrictions is a new feature on iOS devices and allows you to set a screen restriction based on time for various apps or types of apps. For a toddler who is a little more independent with their devices this is great because I can set up a restriction to only be a half hour for game type apps and an hour for educational apps, or whatever the restriction you would like to give. There is also a downtime setting so you can make sure there is no access at certain times of the day. Once they reach their allotment they can request more which goes to a parent device or they can switch to something else that has more time like a game to an educational app.