Traveling with kids is a wonderful way to expose them to different cities, cultures and activities. However, while checking out a new location is fun and exciting, getting there, often, is anything but. Long waits at the airport, sitting in traffic, or taking a long train ride, are just a few things that make traveling tough for little ones.
To make things easier, we parents look for ways to keep our kids, calm, entertained and happy. While this often means using tablets or other devices (something I’m not ashamed to admit using) to make our journey smoother, I prefer non-digital sources.
When my family traveled to Montreal last month, I needed away to keep my two kids happy without necessarily having to rely on screen-time. Luckily, my sister found creative and money-savvy ways to put together activity sets for my two boys. Using dollar-store finds and free Internet resources, she was able to produce each one for around $5. Depending on the age of your child, where you live and how much you want to put in your folder, this price could easily be less. Continue reading →
The first time I embraced the benefits of letting kids use a mobile device was when my family flew to St. Thomas with our toddler and infant sons. I knew my nearly three-month-old wouldn’t be much of a challenge, rock him or give him the boob, and he would be good to go. My two-and-a-half-year-old, however, was probably going to have a hard time staying calm on a three-plus-hour flight. Fortunately, because of the awesome luck of my husband, we were the owners of a free iPad. I am not sure if we would have bought a tablet, otherwise, but I am glad we had one at the time.
I doubted how long the tablet would hold the interest of my toddler. Although we did allow him to watch television at home, he never stayed focused on any show for too long, often stopping to go play with his toys. Not so with the iPad. My son found certain apps, like puzzles or drawing games captivating, and easily maneuvered from one to the next. For someone with little prior experience with devices, his mastery of the tablet was impressive. Of course, that is no surprise to most parents today. We are raising digital natives. Continue reading →
I have nothing against screen time. I believe if the pioneers had invented Facebook, their kids would be playing Farmville, instead of, well, farming. Technology isn’t a scourge on modern childhood, it just is modern childhood. But, as much as I don’t sweat hours spent watching TV, or how many dollars I’m contributing to some YouTube kid’s college fund, there’s one device in our house which is hands off: my smartphone.
Sure, my preschooler manages to get his sticky, peanut-butter-or-some-other-mysterious-substance-covered paws on my phone on occasion. The lock screen baffles him, and after a few failed attempts to get inside, and no budging from me, he gives up and goes right for my husband’s phone (which isn’t locked. Seriously. I don’t get it either). My phone is always on lockdown. I’m even thinking of beefing up security with a retina scan and blood sample.