Today’s Solutions: June 12, 2024

The proliferation of smart devices, like phones and tablets, have made it easier for children to log-on. Last month Fisher-Price got an earful from consumer advocacy groups over their Apptivity Seat, essentially a baby seat with an iPad holder that dangles the device in front of a newborn’s eyes. See also the iGuy iPad holder that makes any iPad childproof. While tech-savvy parents might make the case that their device laden children are actually consuming educational content via their smart-pad, a new study conducted by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center on families’ educational media use says that this is not the case at all.
The report, Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America, looked at children ages 2-10, and focused on how much how much educational material was consumed via screens. The Center defined “educational material” as good content that is conducive to a child’s learning or teaches them a lesson. While the average child spends an alarming 8-hours per day watching TV alone, they only spend 56 minutes per day consuming educational material from a screen.
Before you go ripping that tablet out of your child’s hands, think about what you’ll replace it with. The easy answer is a book, but ingenuity is an integral part of being a great parent; think about creative ways to induce cognitive learning. Here are four ways to get any kid’s brains going:
1) Reading and speaking exercises. Don’t just put a book in front of their face, read to them. Read street signs, posters, everything. Point to things and ask them what it is; if they don’t know, tell them. Conversely, ask them to read things, challenge your child to make them think and sound-out longer words.
2) Play car games. When kids get restless in the car it’s easy to hand them your smart phone for some quiet. Play memory games, ask them to complete simple math equations or play a guessing game. Describe something you see and try to have your kid figure out what it is.
3) Encourage new hobbies. Children get into something and get bored with it quickly. Constantly introduce them to new things like different forms of drawing, dancing or instruments. Mozart started playing a keyboard at the age of 3. Your child might not be Mozart but she probably does enjoy making music.
4) Find some puzzles. A few minutes of crosswords, word searches or even Sudoku everyday will do a lot to get your child’s brain working. There are so many puzzles and games to increase a child’s cognition, finding one they really enjoy is just a matter of time.
Need some more ideas on how to be optimistic in the 21st century? Find them in this FREE issue.
Photo: Toca Boca/Flickr

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