Making Sense

Managing Your Preschooler's Fascination with Apps

If apps are your go-to babysitter, learn how to break the habit.
Caroline Knorr Parenting Editor | Mom of one Categories: Cell phone parenting
Parenting Editor | Mom of one

Tips to manage your preschooler's app habit

There are better teething devices than electronics. If your kids start to put your phone in their mouth, they're too young to use it. Find something else for them to chew, shake, or throw.

Pay attention to what they're doing. Make sure you download age-appropriate apps -- there are lots of them. And check out the apps before your kids do to make sure that the subject matter is right for their age. Can they understand the words? Can they manipulate the game? Really young kids are still developing their fine motor skills, so unless you want a frustrated child on your hands, make sure that a game doesn't require lots of coordination to play.

Don't make phones a habit. Remember that kids quickly develop routines. If they associate going to restaurants or driving in a car with playing games on your phone, it will be difficult to transition out of the behavior.

Balance coping skills. Ultimately, we want kids who can amuse themselves without batteries. Make sure that your kids are equally comfortable with board books, music, and that old faithful -- the crayon.

Keep an eye on the phone. They can get dropped -- on the floor, in a toilet -- wedged in a seat, left in a seat pocket, etc. These things are expensive!

Remember that you're their role model. Kids learn their behavior from you. If you're always on your phone, they'll want to be, too.

Do you let your kids use your smartphone? Do they have their own?

About Caroline Knorr

As Common Sense Media's parenting editor, Caroline helps parents make sense of what’s going on in their kids' media lives. From games to cell phones to movies and more, if you're wondering "what’s the right age for... Read more

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Comments (4)

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