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In Support of Hands-On Play (and Defense of Myself)

I apologize to everyone tuning in today hoping for some playtime fun (soon!), but I’ve got to start this week by getting something off my chest.  Ever since publishing the post We Need to Talk: Kids & Screen Time, I’ve been tossing and turning in bed over the response.  On the one hand I was really happy that the post generated a (mostly) constructive discourse on the topic of kids and screen time.  On the other hand, though the conversation was a good one, it wasn’t the one I meant to start.  I tried to chalk it up to a blogging lesson learned and move on, but a nagging little voice in my head just wouldn’t let me.

 

I’ll be honest, at first I wanted to blame the whole thing on you. Grr! Why do people take the time to comment when they don’t even take the time to read the entire post?  But then more and more readers seemed to be making the same “misinterpretation” of what I wrote.  Finally, the straw that broke the camel’s back, the tech division of a blog I follow and really respect linked up to the post with this jaunty teaser “Interesting post about why a mom decided to give her 3-year old more screen time”. Yikes!  I so wasn’t advocating more screen time.  Something clearly went awry with my message and all signs were pointing to “it’s not you, it’s me”.

 

Before we get into exactly what I did wrong (as well as some good info. on the benefits of hands-on play), let me take a second to lay out, once and for all, exactly where I stand on screen time for my kids:

 

I do not believe that screens of any type are good for (and certainly not necessary to) young children.  I do believe that too much screen time actually has a very real and negative physiological affect on brain development in young children.  Completely eliminating screen time from my children’s lives is a bit extreme for me but I limit it to about 2 hours/week.  What I was suggesting in the first post was being (newly) open to the idea of allocating something like 25% of our current screen time away from TV and to the iPad, but only for very specific “creator” type apps.  These are apps that go beyond just being creative (i.e. virtual coloring books) and head more towards the Leonardo DaVinci / Steve Jobs realm of creating – apps that kids can use to actually build and create things ranging from computer programs to books or stop-action movies. 

 

Part of what I was hoping to accomplish with the first post was to find apps like these appropriate for my 3 year old.  That didn’t happen and I’m thinking now they may not exist for such a young age.  Maybe it’s best to keep my new iPad approach in mind for when the kids are a little older and, for now, settle on reading 1 out of every 10 books to C on the iPad.  That way he gets to interact with it every once in a while and we’re not totally withholding it from him. (I’ve heard some very wise people suggest that completely forbidding something gives it an inordinate amount of importance.)

 

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, can we talk about what went wrong?  As I see it, here were my three big mistakes:

  1. I made an assumption and got ahead of myself – As I briefly tried to explain in the original post.  I assumed when writing it that you all already knew I was a HUGE advocate of learning through hands-on play (the blog is called Modern Parents Messy Kids after all and I have the entire Make & Play Vault crammed with hands-on creative projects for kids and I post several times a week on playtime activities).  Maybe more of you got that then the comments show.  It’s entirely possible that a lot of those commentors were first-time visitors who made their way here via Pinterest and hadn’t really had a look around the place before digging in.  Never-the-less, what I did a poor job of conveying was that I’m a parent way on the “no apps” side of the spectrum and I recently read something that nudged me just a smidge closer to the middle.
  2. I’m slightly afraid of being “all judgy” – Not my finest sentence ever, I’m aware, but you know what I mean, right?  I don’t want to be a blogger up on my pulpit telling you that you need to burn your TV, and here’s why.  In truth, this is probably the bigger reason the “screen time is the devil/open-ended creative playtime is the promise land” sentiment has lingered in many of my posts but never taken full billing as a headliner.  As a blogger I’m still figuring out how to put ideas out there with the clear intent to generate productive conversations (not to look like I’m peddling an agenda).
  3. I failed to be totally clear about my intentions – By mentioning the “app gap” and writing of “being a little worried about C falling behind his iPad proficient peers once he starts school”, I was in no way arguing that preschoolers need to have iPads to keep up.  What I meant, and apparently did a poor job of conveying, was that my husband and I had actually decided C doesn’t need exposure to the iPad right now.  However, as is the case with almost all our parenting decisions, I still worry a bit that I may be wrong and those were two of the things that I worried about.  Finally, I wasn’t trying to suggest that the presence of an app gap correlated with eventual success.  I was only saying that the gap exists and I, as a parent, was wrestling a little with whether it was important and whether or not I cared what side of the gap my child fell on.

 

I hope that clears things up (I know it won’t for everyone.  There will still be people who somehow think I’m pushing “teach your baby to read” apps.  That’s OK – should I get more comments in that vein, I’m fully prepared to go scream into a pillow for a few minutes and move on with my day.)  Before we wrap up, I wanted to leave you with some good info. on kids and limiting screen time:

 

  • In the first post, I talked about the growing demand in this country for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) course-taking, degrees and careers and wondered if that demand might be a reason to familiarize kids with technology.  In rebuttal of that line of thought, is this finding that children who play with puzzles between ages 2 and 4 later develop better spatial skills and how that can be a positive predictor of STEM success in older children.  (P.S. C is 3 1/2 and he LOVES these and these puzzles – they’re great for keeping him occupied if I need to get something done.)
  • If Silicon Valley execs are in favor of going low-tech then why am I even thinking about my 3 year old’s iPad skills?
  • An interesting look at the benefits of good old fashioned play.
  • I attended an amazing talk on raising creative children in a hurried world last week by Nancy Blakey.  I’ll have more on her to come, but for now all of her books are on the top of my “to read” list.

 

Ok, time for the comments.  Be gentle please… or don’t, it’ll give me a chance to try out some of the stuff I’ve been learning here  (affiliate link  and it’s more about negativity and less about anger than the title suggests).
Back tomorrow with something light-hearted and fun!
 

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

joelsgirl March 5, 2012 at 6:09 am

I totally caught what you were saying. It made me rethink the apps my kids are using and did NOT in any way make me think that I needed to just add more screen time. It was a great article.

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Mhairi March 5, 2012 at 6:15 am

I found your first article interesting, not just because it talked about screen time but also because you included the iPad into this time.
Here is a great jump off point for good apps for android (sorry not iPad although a lot do have similar in both platforms) https://market.android.com/details?id=zok.android.phonics&feature=related_apps#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEwOSwiem9rLmFuZHJvaWQucGhvbmljcyJd
The thing I like about this is that the reviews are consistent with what I have felt and they are a good point to use when considering which apps to use/consider.
I have spoken to teachers and speech therapists for recommendations and they generally say that there are a number of good ones out there but that time with parents is better.
Also if you are looking for a good story site this one is wonderful: http://in2era.com.au/
Not sure if it works with the iPad but it is great to use for some quiet time.
Thanks for all the information you share on your site and for the wonderful ideas for spending time with your children. After all, messy kids are happy kids.

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monkeymania3.com March 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Alpha Tots is the best app, my 2 1/2 loves it. He knows all his letters and has fun doing it. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion!

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Maria March 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Thanks for your clarification, while I regularly follow your blog and feel like I had a good idea where you stand, I wasn’t sure how to take the tech post. While we didn’t allow our firstborn (3.5years) any tv for the first 2 years and now limit it to an episode of Mr Rogers and maybe some Planet Earth every once in a while, I have started to allow both him and our youngest (1.5 years) to occasionally watch youtube videos by the Pianoguys or other music performances. I wanted to expose them to different kinds of instruments and music and while we don’t have money to shell out for taking them to concerts all the time, youtube was free and they have really started to get into it. My 3 year old has even said, “When I’m a man, I will play the cello,” which I attribute totally to this screen time that I have decided to be a bit more open to…in certain circumstances. We haven’t really done anything in the way of apps except coloring at the doctor’s office or such. Anyway, what I am trying to say, is thank you for letting me feel like I could be more flexible, because the research behind screentime has scared me in the past, but on the other hand, I have seen some value in some areas. Keep up the good work, I really do love you!

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Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com March 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm

It’s funny how we all tend to stick to what’s comfortable for us. I’ve never even considered exposing the kids to instrumental stuff – such a good idea. And we loved the Planet Earth series too!

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Frances Vettergreen Visual Artist March 5, 2012 at 6:39 pm

There are some brilliant musicians in all genres, including kids music, to be found on YouTube. You can’t just let a child surf (YouTube starts presenting what it thinks you like…in our case old Tom & Jerry, no thanks) but there is a way to download videos to preserve some control. Don’t ask me. Hubby’s job.

We also found lots of homegrown ideas on there–clips of people’s handmade marble mazes, garden railways, like that–that turned out to inspire all of us to think outside the box, more than any app we’ve found. Unexpected but nice.

We use an iPod touch for long waits when we’re out. Kind of fun to research ideas for what we’re going to build next!

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Mommy, Papa and the 'Nuts March 5, 2012 at 1:10 pm

You’re funny…who cares?! YOUR blog!!!

Anyway, I personally responded to other people’s comments as I’m sure many others did too, not really JUST to your post.

Keep it Messy!

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sivab March 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Modern Parent Messy Kids. The title says it all. I think that anyone that regularly follows your blog should know how much effort and time you put into enriching your children’s with involved, tactile and creative play. I think it is great that you are following up with the “modern” part of today’s world as well because the fact is technology is very prominent and I think that you wrote about a topic that was important to think about especially for parents that are looking to balance the two worlds. Keep doing what you are doing inspiring others to foster the creative mind in our children.

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johanna March 5, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I found it to be a GREAT read, and am sad that you had to lose sleep over the comments. Obviously, you are an awesome parent, and we can’t always rely on statistics to guide us….those can get easily skewed. A mother’s instinct is best, and you clearly have that going on!!

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Stephanie March 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I’d say that the majority of the negativity probably came from first-time or newbie readers. Honestly, your beliefs and motives are SO CLEAR in your writing. I didn’t even have time to read through the whole post the first time. I just scanned through it quickly and I definitely caught your true heart in it. I so admire your willingness to address the issue and to open everyone’s minds to the possibility that technology can be beneficial in moderation (as all things are).

I began reading to my children almost as soon as they were born, and I’m sure they picked up a few things from me, but I still attribute their very strong reading skills to Starfall.com. A preschool mom introduced me to the website and I sat at the computer with my children and we sang the songs and read the books together. They both were reading by age 3. It was technically “screen time,” but it wasn’t solitary, it engaged their minds and their bodies (as we sang and clapped along), and it made them WANT TO LEARN MORE. Imagine that!

Now, years later, I am much more strict about their screen time because less and less of it truly engages their imaginations these days. But I am always willing to say that technology, used properly and in moderation, can be a wonderful addition to any child’s creativity and education.

Thanks for keeping on!

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Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com March 5, 2012 at 4:57 pm

I know, I know – I’m being a bit neurotic. But I also know that a lot of my readers come here for ideas for quality play time for their kids and I take that responsibility seriously!

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Sangeetha March 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I never thought you were judgmental when writing the post. I enjoyed it. Whethere everyone agrees or not, I think the Ipad is a boon for my son. I am a neuroscientist and consider myself knowledgeable about how the brain works (sorry for tooting here!). Hence I was always encouraging my son to play games (from when he was a year and half old). I think it helps a lot with brain plasticity. He is two and a half now. I am amazed at the all the puzzles he solves! He can unlock the ipad, go to his app of choice and start playing. Ofcourse we restrict his Ipad time – do not count the hours – but just give to him when he is cranky or I need some quite time. He does a lot of free play. And usually after 15 min on the Ipad he usually switches it off and calls it “done!”. He lovws watching you tube videos and has learnt a lot of songs this way. Since he gets his screen time via Ipad, he absolutely gets no TV time. Maybe Barney cartoons once every month or so – that too only when Mama needs the Ipad and wants him to be quiet! :)

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2flowerslearn.com March 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Don’t second guess yourself and beat your self up. The post was great and really made me think. You explained your position well and I loved the guts you showed by tackling something people would react to. I think the negativity came from people who did not read your post properly. My tutor at uni recently attended a workshop on the 21st classroom and the discussion our class had on tech were heated. Everyone has strong opinions and our thoughts are constantly being challenged by new thinking. Thank you for challenging us.

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CountryFunMaine March 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Found your responding post (this one) well done. Had no problem with the other, so didn’t comment then. I’ve been involved with the education of children for over 30 years. Over that time I’ve learned that the ideas/issues swing widely. I’ve learned to listen to myself, my beliefs and the children I’m working with to decided what and how much of anything is to be used in support of their learning experiences. I have found that as long as I am interacting with them from a point of intention it doesn’t matter if there is screen time or not. There are times we go weeks without any screen time (TV, video, computer, iPad), others it’s used daily and multiple times. Everything has to be balanced and be used with a purpose/intention. Most importantly, which you know and stress, is active play for learning.
I do believe it is also our responsibility to prepare our children for the future. Their future will involve technology is many forms and I think the earlier we instruct them in correct/safe usage the better for them.

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Kelly March 5, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Just want to say I loved that post. We’re in the same place limiting screen time for our 2 year old. As we begin to introduce VERY limited amounts, I love the idea of it being a creative process instead of just consumption. It is very clear to me how much you value hands on playtime. I love your site – keep it up.

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Heather March 5, 2012 at 5:42 pm

We have a 2 1/2 year old daughter and a 4 1/2 year old son. Neither one of them play with the iPad or my kindle fire without us sitting right there with them. Our kids have a Leappad and leapfrog explorer. We don’t let them play on the computer or games on the TV. We play old fashioned board games with our children. I will be teaching our son how to play checkers this weekend, if he is feeling better! I don’t like the idea of our kids getting online and playing with computers, laptops, or iPads. We don’t own an iPad, but my husband’s work gave him one, so there are a few apps on there for the kids. But they can only play if we are sitting right there with them. We never leave them alone with it.

I like cardboard boxes, paper towel rolls, baskets, books, crayons, coloring books playdoh, legos, standard building blocks, etc. Our kids know how to use their imaginations. I feel that our children need to know how to use them first before playing with electronics. How they heck are they going to ever get through life if they can’t do anything other than play computer/electronic games? I have no idea.

So yes, call us old fashioned, or should I say, call ME old fashioned. But I believe in letting our children be children, not couch potatoes. They do get to watch TV more than other kids, but they play and then watch it when they want to. It’s on in the background and turned down low, and when they want to veg out for a little while, they can. But it’s always on Disney channel or Nick Jr. or PBS!

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Fran March 5, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Just want to say thank you for your blog – love it and look forward to reading it.

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Sharon March 5, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Wow- I think we are totally over-thinking here. The level of self-scrutiny we as parents subject ourselves to sometimes is getting out of hand. That’s what I got most out of these two postings, no offense. I think there gets to a point where we need to stop worrying so much about ruining our child’s life over an hour more “screen time” per week and just “be”. Everything in moderation, except for love, humor, and good intentions- don’t be stingy with those. If you want to pop in a Leapfrog video while you are cooking dinner, you aren’t going to ruin your child’s life- and chances are if you are the kind of parent who is worried about this to begin with, you aren’t going to overdo the “screen time” anyway. An exposure to a variety of activities, technology included, makes for a well-rounded child. Let’s not obsess on what everybody else is doing and the minor details. Children succeeded academically way before there were “apps”, and will continue to do so. An extra hour per week in TV isn’t going to make or break them, just keep in mind that the lap learning time with a parent isn’t going to substituted appropriately by any “app” or learning video. Do what feels right…Be happy, be active, be available, read and ask questions, and have fun- everything will turn out alright.

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Beth March 5, 2012 at 6:54 pm

I was about to reply to this, but I think you already read my mind with this comment! I agree — we need to stop beating ourselves and each other up. I try to completely avoid most parenting blogs because the conversation turns nasty so quickly. This is one of the few I read because it has such great ideas for me and my two year old. I’m an “everything in moderation” person myself, and didn’t think twice about the screen time post, so didn’t bother to read the comments — so I never realized it stirred up any controversy. I rarely comment on the blogs that I do read, but in the spirit of being uplifting, I thought I would chime in and say THANK YOU for your great content and all the activities you provide for our family.

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Jenny March 5, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Oh wow! I’m sorry that you had such a different response to the original post that what you thought you would get. I read it and did NOT take it to mean that you were supporting more screen time… I love your blog! Keep up the good work :)

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Vicii March 5, 2012 at 11:07 pm

I read the original post and it made me think about finding some “creative” apps or similar for my 4 year old especially since at nursery they commented that she’s not as confident as some of the other kids at using a mouse, etc. Unfortunately, like yourself, I didn’t find anything suitable either…

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Vicii March 5, 2012 at 11:08 pm

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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Paula March 6, 2012 at 12:21 am

This comment has been removed by the author.

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Anonymous March 6, 2012 at 1:50 am

While certainly it helps that your kids, grandkids, and probably anyone you’ve had the pleasure of interacting with is “brilliant,” you seem to have a slight disconnect with reality. Your “yes” vote on whether or not the world was better/safer “back then” is pretty naive because you are totally missing the point. For better or worse, technology is here to stay, and while for you [technology] “isn’t that hard to learn,” I would argue that it falls squarely into the category of “you don’t know what you don’t know,” and the question is what level of exposure to technology is important to you. Obviously I don’t know you or have any idea what you mean by technology is easy to learn, but there is a huge difference in growing up and learning to operate an ipad vs. growing up and becoming a though leader in the high tech world. I’m not making a value judgement here, but in my interpretation of the author’s post, you have totally missed the boat. There is a “app gap.” This is a fact. The question is whether you care about where your family lands in relation to the app gap. I think this article (and the previous) does an excellent job of objectively describing the situation and providing you with the tools and resources to make a decision for yourself. The fact that the comment about “falling behind his iphone proficient peers…” catches your breath highlights your disconnect with reality. The point is not whether or not (the author’s) 3 year old should be exposed to the iphone, but rather the fact that if he is not exposed, he will be behind his peers (in terms of iphone proficiency). Again, the fact of the matter is, many kids WILL be exposed to technology at an early age, and as a parent you have to decide whether or not you care, and if you do care, what you intend to do about it.

It is easy to say that “it all comes out in the wash,” but by that logic, why should I bother reading to my kids or talking to them…afterall, we all learn to speak at some point. For you, a level playing field where everyone is average may be fine. For me, living at the margin is a minimum. I’m not shooting for the status quo.

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Paula March 6, 2012 at 5:06 am

This comment has been removed by the author.

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Paula March 6, 2012 at 5:14 am

I have removed my comments as I can see that they offended the anonymous responder above. I apologize. But it was totally unnecessary for that person to personally attack me and my family whom they do not know. I will not be making further comments about this. When you first posted I thought you were interested in opinions. Thank you very much. I still love your blog and find it very interesting. Have a good day

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Ashley March 6, 2012 at 2:51 am

Ok, I’m a new mom (totally in the beat myself up phase over EVERYTHING)…What foods should I feed her? What books should I be reading? Am I singing the right songs? Do I engage with her enough?…it’s never ending!!! But one of my biggest insecurities has to do with the TV. It seems to be my husbands “go-to” when he has her (she is only 14 months) because in his life before babies, that was how he spent his ‘down time.’ I’m nervous it’s going to ruin her! What DOES the research say about screen time? I couldn’t find your original post. I know how important discovery and creative play is…I LOVE reading through your blog and I’ve pinned so many things for when my daughter is older.

But what do you suggest when it comes to the tv for babies?

THANK YOU!!!!

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Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com March 6, 2012 at 3:44 am

Hi Ashley,

For babies, the TV rule is hard and fast for me – avoid it. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no TV time at all for children under the age of two as studies have shown that it can negatively impact brain development at such a young age. Here’s a link to more info.:

http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/news/candzstudy.htm

Hope that helps!

Steph

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Beth March 6, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Don’t beat yourself up on this Ashley! My husband tends to do the same thing with our 2 year old son, and it used to drive me crazy and we used to fight about it all the time. But sometimes having a happy, relaxed (and non-fighting) family outweighs sticking to the rule book. You seem like a mom who’s trying to do all the best things for her baby, and with that attitude, you can’t really ruin her.

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Lauren March 6, 2012 at 3:24 am

Just thought I’d join in the chorus here and tell you how much I love your blog and post, too. I often have the same dilemma over screen time — my kids love playing on our iPad and watching some of their favorite shows on tv — but I honestly believe that both can have educational value if facilitated carefully. My son (4) loves watching Planet Earth and other nature shows (or even Wild Kratts on PBS), and he routinely blows my mind with how much he knows about animals. One of his favorite iPad apps is ABC Wildlife, which has pictures, information, and videos about all kinds of creatures. Our house is full of books and we read all the time, but I can tell you that I’d never know there is such an animal as a quokka or bat-eared fox if he hadn’t learned about them through his “screen time” and told me all about them :) I loved Sharon’s comment above, especially her line about “everything in moderation, except for love, humor, and good intentions.”

Oh, and in the off chance you don’t have any Ravensburger puzzles, they are our absolute favorites! After reading, doing puzzles is one of our favorite things to do around our house. As for ebooks on the iPad, we only have two, but they are both great: The Monster at the End of This Book, and How Rocket Learned to Read.

Thanks for all of your inspiration and fabulous ideas!
~ Lauren from 365 Great Children’s Books

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Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com March 6, 2012 at 7:08 am

Thanks so much Lauren – and thank also for the great tip on Ravensburger puzzles… off to check them out now!

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Lauren March 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm

You’re welcome! We have a bunch of their puzzles and they are great. Some of them are even family hand-me-downs. 20 years later, they are still in great shape. Have fun!

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Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com March 6, 2012 at 3:44 am

Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to comment today – I really appreciate it!

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JCG March 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I was someone who commented and what *i* did wrong was not clearly explain when I was addressing your words and when I was addressing comments other people had made. I definitely was clear on your position but some who commented before you had said things I wanted to address, and I mixed all my thoughts into a few paragraphs. I think that probably we commenters address the entirety of the conversation, instead of the blogger’s post, and that’s probably confusing! I am sorry!

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Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com March 6, 2012 at 4:29 pm

No need to apologize! I did want to encourage a conversation and different view points and I did realize that a lot of the comments were directed at other commentors. I just wanted to make sure everyone knew exactly where I stood :).

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melissa March 6, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I really don’t understand why parents can be so judgmental. I found your blog on Pinterest and added you to my FB so I can use many of your great ideas with my 3 year old. Your brilliant ideas! I let my child watch PBS and she learns from the shows. No, I don’t plop her there for hours at a time, but T.V,, to me,, is not all that bad.
I am not perfect. I am not Mother Goose. I will not come on the internet to bad mouth somebody because they don’t have the same views as me. I have more important things to do.
Seriously, I love your blog.

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DailyHandmade March 7, 2012 at 3:17 pm

I agree with you, about almost eveything in this post. My husband is a software developer and do you know when he started using computers? When he finally had a lab installed in his grade school in about 6th grade. Even then, they are nothing like they are now and he still managhed to have a career in technology. What I am trying to say, is that not knowing how to use an Ipad will not put you behind in life. Our kids go to a Montessori elementary school and have almost no screen time (a few Netflix shows on the weekend) because we are commited to the idea that childhood is better with less screen time.

Through all that you do with your children, which is quite a lot, judging from your great blog, you will prepare them for life to come. Use of an Ipad or not is irrelevant.

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Kendall Hoover June 29, 2012 at 6:17 pm

LOVE THIS POST. Found you via pinterest. Thank you — I’ll be back.

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Affordable blog proofreading for when your blog has attracted too many followers to pretend it’s okay because no one’s going to see it.

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Mom of 2 Boys September 17, 2012 at 12:48 am

I have not read the original article but I found this article interesting. I personally do lots with my boys and love enriching their lives. My husband is in technology so I cannot avoid having computers, iPads, smart phones, etc. It is apart of our everyday lives and puts food on our table. I had to find a balance for me and my family.

My oldest had fine motor delays, and sensory processing challenges…how do you get a child who doesn’t like mess or the feeling of holding a crayon/marker to start writing. All of the OTs suggested using drawing apps on the iPad. It worked!

Using technology can be great when used correctly. We live in a modern age and the technology can be used for good…and bad. I think there needs to be balance. We need to put limits and boundries on the use. Only you as a parent can make those choices.

P.S. A great app is the Interactive Alphabet App to help with letters on the iPad. My boys love it and I love it too.

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Sarah January 9, 2013 at 5:48 pm

I know you said you don’t like the “teach your baby to read” apps, but I love the sight words app. We do it together, (I don’t use the voice recording feature so she can do it by herself) and I thinks it has really helped my two year old learn what numbers look like, rather than just how to say them. (it doesnt come with numbers, but you can add words or entire folders, so i added letters and numbers) But I don’t have a ton of apps for her, mainly because it’s so hard to find good ones, and really because I want to keep my ipad all to myself and not share as much as most parents I know ;) also, my girl loves the tv show signing time, and we mostly only watch it together, and I think it has really improved her vocabulary.

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