Toddlers and Technology

One of Totsy's own Niece

Our kids will never know what a life without wireless devices and touch screens is like. Their future may very well be like that of the Jetsons. But what effect does all this technology going to have on their young development. Have you seen the YouTube video of the baby using an iPad? The video captures her clearly understanding the iPad’s touch capabilities. Then, she is given an actual paper magazine and she thinks it’s broken because nothing happens when she taps the pages.  It’s a cute video. Really.

And its also evidence of one of today’s challenges as a parent. The what and how of parenting with technology. How much is too much? Will not using technology enough make it harder for children when they reach classes that require it? Where does a parent come down on balance?

Just like t.v., video games and cell phones, today’s technology presents another opportunity for parents to use it as a learning tool, but not allow it to become a fixture that replaces other educational or physical development opportunities. And certainly, it should not be used as a substitute parent.

Parents will use their smartphones and other devices to calm their kids down or keep them distracted during long waits and in public situations where a little technology might prevent a meltdown. Like most things in life, it’s a matter of balance. Our Totsy team dug a bit deeper into the situation to give you some of both the positives as well as the negatives surrounding Toddler’s and Technology.

Pros

  • Fine-tunes motor skills: Pushing keys and manipulating a mouse gives those tiny toddler hands and fingers the same type of valuable workout they get from finger painting or doodling (though without the creative kick of more artistic endeavors). This form of “finger activity” also hones in on hand-eye coordination, which will pay off for years to come as your little one learns to catch a ball, use scissors, or put together a tricky puzzle.
  • Teaches Cause and Effect: When your child taps a button or swipes the screen, something happens, encouraging curiosity.
  • Apps Targeted to Toddler’s: The App store has a plethora of apps targeted at toddlers. From flashcards that teach numbers and the alphabet, to learning a new language, to games that involve shapes and colors, your smartphone or tablet can be turned into a classroom.

Cons

  • Not Enough “Face Time”: Kids who are glued to a screen throughout the day are less likely to interact with other kids or adults. As humans, we need to interact with one another, developing emotional and social skills.
  • Lack of Activity: Too much screen time may make your little less active, even later on in life. Toddler’s need hands on time, feeling and touching everything, developing their senses. Get them to play with blocks, get muddy in dirt, or finger paint. Can they do that on your smartphone? Nope! Toddlers also need physical play; it helps build strong muscles and it’s a primary way little kids discover what their bodies can do.
  • Too Much Stimulation: According to Natural News, research presented at SLEEP 2010, the 24th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, has revealed that children who use technology late at night are more prone to develop cognitive problems than children who have regular sleeping patterns that do not involve staying up late on their computers and cell phone. Or in other words, after using technological devices too close to bedtime may make them antsy and hyper, disrupting their sleep schedule. Their bodies basically have been told, “you’re not ready for bed.”

Tune in tomorrow as Totsy’s Chief Mom shares her thought via video.

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Wrapping up with The Mother Co. & Parenting Expert, Dr. Robyn Silverman

[Source: Pediatricsafety.com]

[Source: Pediatricsafety.com]

Hi Totsy fans! In case you missed our live Facebook chat with parenting expert Dr. Robyn Silverman, partnered with The Mother Company, here’s a quick summary of some interesting questions and answers!

Question: My 6 year old son has a hard time expanding beyond 1 friend and has difficulty taking social cues and knowing personal space. His school has developed a “playground plan” for him that has just started where he plays with his one friend 2 days a week and others the rest of the week but we have learned that on the alternate days he has played by himself. He does not seem to be bothered by it at all, but we don’t want him to become an outcast or not liked as he gets older. We’ve tried talking to him about it but he still struggles with it. He is very affectionate and seems to be liked by other kids, except when they tell him they don’t want to play anymore he does not take the hint. What else can we do? –Bob Celosky

Dr. Silverman

  1. Diversify and multiply friendship circles.
  2. Encourage him to be a part of something in someway.
  3. Meet up outside of school: Perhaps crowds intimidate him.
  4. Make sure you don’t put your fears on him: If he is happy to be alone some of the time, perhaps that’s something that just works for him.
  5. Challenge him: Challenge him to choose one person who he will talk to or play something with during recess
  6. Ensure that he is spending time with people he likes
  7. Ask for their definition of a good friend

Question: I have a couple of friends who tell me their children (3-6) are drawn to kids that are aggressive and rebellious. How should parents instruct their children? What kind of action, if any, should parents take to guide their children?  -Laurel Moglen

Dr. Silverman: Children like to have fun– so if they see kids looking like they are having fun, they will be drawn to it. Rebellious sometimes seems like fun! But, we need to guide our children to understanding what fun & good choices are and what fun but bad choices are. The biggest question: will it hurt you or someone else?

Question: What would you say are the benefits and drawbacks of the label “bully”?  –Scott Baumgartner

Dr. Silverman: My feeling is that labels can be dangerous. Self fulfilling, if you will. However, someone can be acting like a bully without always being one– just like someone can behave in a shy way without the label “shy”– another label I don’t like. When we say “he IS a bully”, the child wears it like a coat. If you are behaving like a bully, it feels more changeable. Our main thought is to first ask, How do you think that made them feel? Instead, start with, what happened right before you started that vicious rumor? How were you feeling right before you took that action? Ground the action to a feeling.

Question: My daughter is 5 and just started going to pre-k this year. She has always been very independent and loved to go anywhere where she can play with kids, even preschool. Well, she has began to get anxiety and really nervous about going to school. I have even had to beg her to get out of the car when we got there. Her teacher has expressed concern to me about Kendyl acting nervous when they had to do group activities. I want school to be a fun experience for her. – Kristin Hovde

Dr. Silverman: Find out what’s scaring her: Is he scared that he won’t make friends? Getting lost? Being left out? Loud noises? Once we find out the true fear, we can handle it together. Talk about your childhood back to school fears and how you coped: When your child can hear that you had fears and that you dealt with them successfully, it can help her to feel better. Share something that made you feel more confident so she can call up this story or nugget of wisdom when she needs it.  Use a structure: A structure is something tangible that your child can touch when she is feeling nervous. It can be a smooth rock or marble in her pocket or a little something hanging from her belt. Put an association along with that structure. “Every time you touch this, remember to take 3 deep breaths and think of me sitting beside you,” for example.

mindware

[Image: mindware.com]

Great tips from Dr. Silverman:

  • Asking kids AS A COACH can be wonderful instead of lecturing.
  • It’s important for kids to understand their definition of “friend.” What is it that they are really looking for?
  • We need to ask our children to reflect on choices they’ve made as a practice. “That was fun…and it was a good choice!” or “that might have been fun…but what was the consequence?”
  • I think it’s important for parents to step back and get their children to think. It’s a way of teaching accountability and empathy. Instead of providing the answer, ask questons. Takes patience. What did you do? What happened when you did that? What did you learn from that? What will you do next time?
  • Who do you want to be thought of as a person? What words do you hope come to mind when people think of you? Then they must act accordingly. Have them write it down. It is what they must aspire to.

More Resources:

Totsy’s Mom Committee: Meet Diana!

Today we kick off our Mom Committee Interview Series starting with Totsy’s Chief Mom, Diana Heather.  Every Monday, we will be featuring a different mom from the Totsy Mom Committee so that you’ll get the chance to learn about their favorite fashion items, their favorite moments as a mom and why they love what they do.  Let’s meet Diana!

[Chief Editor of StarStyle covers “looks for less” inspired by “The Devil Wears Prada” for Inside Edition]

What’s your go-to fashion item?  A tailored blazer that gives definition to my waist. I have black ones for different seasons and a great white linen one for summer. The right blazer with jeans or leggings or a dress always makes me feel put together, stylish and its one of the most flattering things I can wear regardless of my current weight or pregnancy status (after having 2 babies in 2 years I feel like that’s important.)

What’s been your favorite moment as a mom?  Wow, that’s a tough one. There are too many to count.  I just spent 3 days away from them (the first time w/o the little one) and all I kept saying was, “I love our babies SO much!”  My husband and I always find ourselves mimicking them and reliving moments of times they did something cute or funny when we are away from them. Khloe talks now, so that gives us lots of fodder!  Besides giving birth, I’d have to say anytime they smile at you or snuggle you like you’re the only one in the world- those are the greatest Mom moments!

What has been your strangest pregnancy craving?  With my first, I gained 42 pounds and lived on ice cream — no wonder I gained so much. I also had a lot of morning sickness in the early days so I only craved comfort food to help with the nausea (i.e. carbs!).  All I wanted was lasagna and Mexican food in the beginning!  With the second one, I didn’t have morning sickness and I was so busy with being a mom and chasing a little one around that I only gained 20 pounds and ate SkinnyCow when my ice cream craving set in. I learned my lesson the first time to not indulge my every craving.

Tell us what the funniest thing your kid has ever said to you.  Is there a story behind it?  Khloe is just learning to talk, so every day is something funny with her lately.  She loves to say “bless you” to anyone who sneezes. “Betch you mommy!  Betch you daddy!  Betch you”.  Lol! . I also love hearing her tell us “good morning” because she says ‘Eh Mernin mommy’.  Last week though I was taking a video of her telling everyone at Totsy hello and then I said, “Khloe, say, I love you Totsy” and she looked at the camera and said, “I Totsy wuf you”- She got the words backwards, it was adorable!

Elaborate on the TV shows you have been feature on & what’s been your favorite part about being Totsy’s Chief Mom?   Hey, I think that’s actually 2 questions, right? First, I’ve had the opportunity to be on TV a few times and I love it more and more every time, because I always just have fun with it. Originally, I was the spokesperson and Chief Editor of a website called StarStyle.com – its not around anymore unfortunately, but the site was a destination where fans could buy the clothes they saw on their favorite tv shows, movies and music videos.  I did a lot of press about that both in NY and LA.  I was telling everyone on Access Hollywood and Extra and MTV all about StarStyle!  It was a total blast.  Later, I was Sr. Editor of a site for 1-800-Flowers called Celebrations.com, so I was on TV a few times talking about party planning ideas.

Most recently though, BRAVO cast my husband and I to appear in an episode of a new reality show airing April 5 called “Pregnant In Heels” while I was pregnant with the baby last summer. We don’t yet know when our episode of the show airs, so it’s kind of a surprise!

To answer the second question- my favorite part about being Chief Mom at Totsy is two-fold. Firstly, I get to work with really talented and fun people at work everyday, so that makes coming to work every day exciting and enjoyable, but more importantly I get to keep being a mom at work and I get to connect everyday with other amazing moms who continue to give me great advice and inspire me. They make me want to keep making Totsy the best it can be!

[Matching shirts, divergent personalities. Khloe (20 mos) Lola (5 mos)]

Connect with Diana on Facebook and Twitter!