Should Toddlers Have iPads?

It is no secret that both of my children regularly use iPads. Sam is now 32 Months old, and Sydney is 20 Months old. They both have regular access to iPad mini’s filled with educational apps. They love to spend time on them.

Sam has autism. Initially, we found he engaged well with the iPad, and enjoyed playing games on it. He started using it at 22 Months old. Now, he is doing jigsaws, following instructions on games, answering quiz style questions, etc. Considering Sam is almost non verbal and rarely follows basic instructions from us, the fact he can circle the photo with the most animals on it when playing on the “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” app shows us just how much potential there is for him to grow and develop.

Sydney started playing with the iPad at around 10 Months old. She would pop bubbles when Sam left an app open, and before long she was as good on it as Sam is. Sydney is already reading numbers 1-12 and saying numbers 1-18. I am told this is amazing for a 20 Month old. Yesterday, Syd hit an all new level of genius, though. She pointed to the letter S on her Toto Kidogo playmat and said, “Ess”. I clapped and cheered like a crazy lady, and she then pointed at and said the letters “E, I, S, T, U, X and Y”

I haven’t really spent much time showing Syd letters yet, as I have been focusing on numbers, shapes and colours. I know exactly where she has learnt those letters though – It is 100% thanks to the iPad app “Endless Alphabet“. (Pictured above). The app shows you a word, says the word and then all of the letters get scrambled round the screen. In the middle of the screen is an outline of the letters in the right order. You then put the letters back in the right place. Whenever you touch a letter, the says the letter. (Touch a letter T and hear “Tee Tee Tee” etc).

As of yet, I haven’t managed to get a video of her reading the letters to me, but the following video shows her pointing out and naming numbers between 1 and 10.

I’m not giving the iPad all of the credit. I have spent many hours counting with Syd, and showing her numbers. She has also practiced them on two iPad apps in particular – Toddler Counting 123 and Pet Cafe. We’ve been playing Toddler Counting 123 (pictured below) for a long time, and while it has helped her remember the order of the numbers, it hasn’t really helped her to learn how to say them. Pet Cafe has, though. One part of the game involves you moving food onto a tray, and each time you add a piece of food, it tells you how many are on it, and the number displays on screen. This definitely helped Syd to learn the numbers 1-10.

Her toy clock, books and her playmat have all helped her to recognise numbers too though – it wasn’t 100% down to the apps. I strongly believe they have helped her massively.

Do I believe all toddlers should have access to an iPad? Yes – but only
in the right circumstances. We have made our iPad Mini’s toddler proof.
There are only children’s apps on there, all in app purchase options are
turned off, and the delete option is disabled, so they can’t erase any
apps. I personally add apps to the iPads and there are only educational
ones on there. The kids can’t access youtube, iPlayer or such like, so
the iPads are used as educational tools – not TV’s.

With the best will in the world though, children can become addicted to them. Syd would play on it all day every day if I let her. We limit her time now. I make sure they are put away when Sam is at nursery so she can have some 1-1 play time with me. I tend to let them have the iPads when I am cooking or sorting laundry etc as they keep them distracted for long enough for me to get jobs done. (Syd literally follows me around the house like my shadow, but the iPad distracts her enough for me to cook in peace and safety)!

We have got Speck iGuy cases for both of the iPad Mini’s. I cannot recommend these enough. They are made from flexible, durable foam. Sam often bites the “arms” on his case (pictured above). Both iPad minis have been thrown a fair few times, too. The cases are worth their weight in gold as far as I am concerned. They are easy to carry and the “legs” mean the iPads stand up too – ideal if you do put a sneaky video on for them!

I spend a lot of time playing with the children on their iPads – it’s
not always a parent-free activity. Both of them love to play on them
alone and with an adult, too. I would say for Sam, he probably spends
60% of his iPad time playing solo. That is his choice though. He is
playing by himself, but I am around and always looking and listening to
keep track of what he’s doing. Syd probably only spends 15% of her iPad
time playing alone. She loves to engage with you and show you what she’s
doing.

What do you think? Are iPads something you let your children use? Do you (like me) think they’ll become an essential part of our kids’ school supplies soon?

This is not a sponsored post

EDIT: I managed to get a video of Syd reading on 28th Feb – Here it is!

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