You may remember how much I struggled through most of last year with the decision about introducing technology to the girls. I am really proud of our non-battery-operated toys, our numerous sets of building blocks, half a million books, and my girls’ art supply fetish. While I certainly didn’t want them to fall behind the technology curve, I had strongly mixed feelings about interjecting something so “charged” into our Zen-like mix.
I bit the bullet on Labor Day weekend, though, buying the girls each an iPad mini. I downloaded a handful of educational apps, and set a 30-minute limit for screen time per day. That first week, I wasn’t exactly regretting my decision, but I did see a lot of my apprehensions at play. The girls seemed to wake up thinking about their iPads. “How long until we can play with our iPads?” “Can we have iPad time now?” I heard at least 20 times a day there for a bit.
The newness eventually wore off, though. One afternoon, a couple of weeks in, the girls were playing exceptionally well. It reached the time when I would normally acquiesce their iPads…and they were still engrossed in their pretend play. I didn’t dare interrupt them. It was after supper that night when someone remembered in alarm, “Hey! We didn’t play with our iPads today!”
Now, more than four months in, the girls play with their iPads probably 4 or 5 days a week. There are occasions when they might watch something on TV (usually from the Animal Planet), and they know that counts as their screen time for the day. Other days, we just get wrapped up in whatever else we’re doing. The girls still relish their technology time, but it’s become not such a big deal.
With the balance of our days safely in check, I can tell you there are things I LOVE about the girls and their iPads. I love the fun apps they have for phonics and math. I love the amazing pictures they can explore on their astronomy and wild life apps. I love the functionality of the maps. And I love how much fun the girls have taking pictures and videos.
Far beyond that, though, the girls are diving into technology, not afraid to figure things out…and I REALLY love that! That’s exactly why I wanted to get iPads for them, so they could begin to develop an intuition about computer logic, and not be intimidated by technological things they don’t know.
The girls love to play with the camera on their iPads, and a big source of entertainment is taking new pictures for their backgrounds. It amazes me that they figured that out so quickly, as THEY CANNOT READ to navigate the systems. They both got there so easily through trial and error! It wasn’t long before they learned how to take screen shots of virtually anything…even within an app…and save that as a background. And HOW did they learn the word “screenshot”???
I love to see the girls working together, too. “Hey, Sissy, can you show me how you did that?” “Hey, Sissy, can you help me on my iPad? I can’t figure this out.”
Like many things into which it took me a while to make the plunge (like baby gates and preschool and big kid beds, to name a few), I’m so glad I took the leap and turned the girls on to technology when I did. It hasn’t hindered their love of blocks and books and puzzles, and it’s challenged and engaged them on a whole new level.