By Nadia Azizullah, CanadianMomEh
Computers and mobile phones were invented to save our time. That is of course if an adult uses it efficiently. What happens when these hand held devices are given to children?
I was appalled when my husband bought a wireless hand held device for my son who was 6. He tried to convince me that the new generation gets a better understanding of basic learning concepts visually. He told me to “get with it!” So I let it be – and never bothered with their electronic activities and trusted that the husband would be on top of things.
Fast-forward four years later, owning a smart phone myself, I’ve now noticed that my kids are constantly on their wireless devices. If I take them away as a punishment, they act as if I tore their arm off! Are they on their educational apps all the time?! Ya right! Either my kids weaseled their way to con their dad into getting fun apps or they hacked into the app downloading store. But it’s no surprise that these devices have become a constant recreational activity for them rather than an educational one! My kids may have pulled a fast one on their dad, but they can’t outsmart me. If my kids are going to be on their devices all the time, why not use it to my advantage? So I did.
I told my kids, now aged 10 and 8 that it’s a privilege to have this device. Learn to use it efficiently. Kids need structure, friendly reminders and strive on routine. Nagging and yelling doesn’t help and never has – so why not use the device to parent and guide them in the right direction when it comes to responsibilities? We are living in the electronic age…so why not?!
First off, I set up their alarms for waking up and for bedtimes. That’s for structure.
Next, I set up a weather app for school which provides information regarding the weather and what clothes to wear. That’s for teaching them to make decisions independently on what to wear according to the weather. It also provides a pollen forecast – so kids can remind me if/when antihistamines are needed that day or not. That’s for them learning to take care of their own health.
I then set up their email accounts with contacts I’ve personally added with whom they can interact with. That’s for developing their social skills.
I also set up their calendar and sync-ed it with mine so they would know who is doing what and where with who so that everyone is in the loop. That’s for teaching them about time management.
This is just the beginning. I’m sure with time, the needs will change. When the time will come, we’ll adjust. But for now, my husband did tell me to get with it…so I did.
How do you use smart devices to help you parent?
Nadia Azizullah is a glorified stay-at-home-mom of two, blessed friend of many and a fortunate wife of one. She loves pyjamas, coffee and nail polishes (not necessarily in that order). She also loves to eat “healthy” and works out at the gym regularly – just so she can eat – regularly.
Born and raised in bustling Montreal, she moved to quiet suburban Ottawa after she got married. To keep her out of trouble, she keeps herself busy by volunteering at the local gym, with her kids’ school and in the community.