The early years of your little one are very crucial for their growth and development. A child’s brain develops rapidly during the first 5 years of their life. During this stage, many parents tend to be very cautious about what could go wrong during this critical time of growth, and for a good reason. In today’s world it seems that children are being exposed to technology earlier than ever before due to the technological advancements we have right at our fingertips. As a parent, it’s not so much a matter of if your child will be exposed to technology, but when.
If you are hesitant to introduce your toddler to technology at such a seemingly early stage, consider technology as an aid to help your child develop new stimulations and experiences. An increasing number of parents have started to rely on technological devices to aid them in teaching their toddler valuable critical-thinking skills.
Think of technology as a tool you can use to spend time engaging with your toddler. There’s a range of different technologies you can use such as smartphones, tablets, musical devices, and different applications you can download all to help with teaching your toddler valuable life skills. There has to a come a time when your baby ditches the baby bouncer and moves on to learning.
Consider the following ways on how you can introduce technology to your toddler at their most critical time of brain development.
1. Understand your Toddler’s Learning Style to Choose the Best Tool
All toddlers are not cut from the same cloth, each toddler learns, grows and develops at his or her own pace. The best way you can put technology to work, is to figure out how your child enjoys learning. You want your child to have positive experiences during the developmental stages of their life that will lead to success in the future. The following are some example of learning styles your child my relate to. This will help you decide how to encourage your toddler to use technology to engage in analytical development.
- Kinesthetic Learning Style If your toddler enjoys hands-on experiences, then there’s a high probability that he or she is a kinesthetic learner. In this case, an iPad or tablet would be a great choice, more so apps that would require your little one to hold and occasionally change the iPad’s orientation. Look out for touchable pop-up features as they will make the learning experience super fun for your toddler.
- Auditory Learning Style If your toddler enjoys talking as well as listening to other people speak, then he or she might be an auditory learner. For such a learner, an app with lots of songs and music, audiobooks, and other audio features would be a great choice as they will cater to your toddler’s listening abilities.
- Visual Learning Style If your toddler likes playing with letters and shapes, is highly observant and enjoys activities such as drawing and doodling, then chances are that they are a visual learner. In mobile devices, you will find lots of apps that would be well suited for the visual learner. To support a visual learner, you could choose artistic and image-rich apps for him or her. To get the toddler’s attention, help them remember and clearly understand new ideas by accessing apps with vibrant images.
- Special Needs Toddlers Toddlers with special needs have an individual learning style which could sit within the 3 above mentioned styles. However, this toddler will need some assistance while operating a device. With thousands of apps available, there are some that are designed for little ones with special needs. Devices with assistive technology may be expensive for some but you can find some that are both user-friendly and wallet-friendly. When choosing an app for a special needs toddler, be sure to look out for apps that will enhance your child’s verbal or non-verbal communication.
2. Help your Toddler Learn how to Read
Learning how to read early can greatly give your toddler a jump start to learning. To do this, you must help your little one understand written words to enable them to integrate new knowledge. In this case, you could use your tablet to access interactive stories for your little one. While it may seem early to introduce technology to your little one, it’s never too early to start reading to your baby. Reading to your baby at an early stage will only help your child to develop reading skills as a toddler. Reading interactive stories with your toddler can quickly become a special moment for you two to bond and will allow your toddler to explore new visual learning techniques.
3. Enhance Problem- Solving Skills with Educational Games
Playing educational games on a tablet or iPad can go a long way to help your toddler acquire some skills in math and problem- solving. This is one of the best ways to prepare your little one for school, your toddler, in this case, can associate learning with some positivity. This move will eventually make learning much easier when the child goes to school. Note that games will usually have an audience rating that you can look at before downloading the game on your device. There are 4 easy steps to find out if an app is safe for your child’s age that you can read here.
4. Learning a New Language
Consider the diversity in today’s world, there’s no better time to learn a new language than when your child is a toddler. If you want your child to be exposed to learning a new language, technology can help in a major way. It may surprise you to see how fast a toddler can pick up a new language – French, Chinese or even Spanish. If you are bi-lingual yourself, using language applications with your toddler can help you teach your child a new language.