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Did Ipad replace Toy Blocks?

Ipad as Baby Sitter?

Did Ipad replace Toy Blocks

Did Ipad replace Toy Blocks?

Who needs a babysitter today when you can just give your pre-schooler your iPad while you cook dinner or do your dreaded graduate school homework? More and more parents are turning to their iPads (or other tablet) to entertain

their pre-school age children while they get stuff done; like cooking or cleaning, homework themselves, tending to older or young children’s needs, etc. It’s an epidemic just as much as the television became a babysitter to droves and droves of children as two-income households became more and more the norm.

Cognitive functions are a key component of a healthy pre-school age child. But research shows that spending too many hours in front of an electronic device of any kind causes untold damage to our precious angels. Hand / Eye coordination is a basic function that toddlers and pre-schoolers need to learn so they can advance to the heavy stuff, like using safety scissors and glue sticks in kindergarten and beyond. Playing on an iPad or any other electronic device for hours on end does not meet this need for your child’s developmental growth.

Eye strain caused by too many hours in front of a computer is not a myth, either. The earlier we subject our eyes to small electronically digitized pixels for hours each day, the earlier we will need glasses. Optometrists worldwide are encouraging children to just get outside and play, for one main reason affecting their profession – this allows our eyes to focus on things far away and to utilize the functionality that has been inherent in us since caveman days. We were built to be able to see things far away as intruders and imminent danger approached from all angles. But in today’s highly computerized world – we sit in front of the TV, a computer, a tablet or a handheld gaming device and our eyes focus on something no further than about 2-6 feet from them. This is not healthy.

Free Toys

Did Ipad replace Toy Blocks?

Did Ipad replace Toy Blocks?

Every parent can relate to the scenario where you give your child a big gift that came in a huge box and all they really want to

play with is … the box. It’s a fort, a tree house, a play house, a cave, their own little ‘bite-sized’ home for them to enjoy and cocoon themselves in.  Why is that so? How can you begin to feed your child more of the natural stimulation that they crave? Sure, after being exposed to tons of electronics they eventually say that’s all they want to do. But if you give them an option of going to the park, put them on a swing, get them to go down the slide and pick up mulch – they love it! Socially capable children don’t grow on trees – they hang from them. Putting your child in front of the iPad or TV or video game to entertain them while you get stuff done creates mind-numbing robots who can’t relate to society on a social level. This could have long-lasting negative effects; such as an inability to socialize in college and adulthood, a hindrance when it comes to being interviewed by perspective employers, and an underlying social awkwardness that could prevent them from having long-term relationships that are based on mutual hobbies and interests.

Putting your child in front of a castle, or just an empty box that they pretend is a castle, stimulates the creative vortex part of the brain that allows them to think creative and come up with ingenious solutions to any problem – a competitive and valuable asset at any age. But an asset that will serve them well into their adulthood as being a forward-thinker, a creative consultant, an “outside the box” collaborative soul who friends and colleagues can turn to when they need inspiration.

Message to the Children

Speaking of inspiration, think about what message you are sending to your child when you plop them in front of a device so you can go off and do chores, homework, cook dinner, etc. You are telling them that there are other things more important than them. And while that statement may be true, the things you are doing instead of nurturing their creative personality are not more important than they are. And you know it. Are you perpetuating a cycle that they will end up carrying into adulthood and then do to their own children? Will your grandchildren end up being babysat by some yet-uncreated-electronic device instead of being nurtured and encouraged to use their imagination, build the tallest toy block towers, or safeguard the fair maiden in the castle stronghold?

The fact is that it takes time to entertain our children in healthy and constructive ways – but the benefits are well worth it. Enjoying time with your child playing dominoes or blocks is the foundation that will lead to family night in front of the TV – but with board games instead of mindlessly watching the TV! Memories like these can’t be bought, or replaced by an iPad.

 

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