Yup. My 2 year old son has my husband’s old iPhone (with no cell service so just a glorified iPod). You may be rolling your eyes. I can’t really blame you. A year ago, I would have done the same thing. Hell 6 months ago! What toddler needs an iPod? You will hear me get all preachy about all kids need are sticks and dirt until the cows come home but then this? Brandy must be drinkin the shine again. But seriously, when I start to explain why he has it to people, 9 times out of 10 people say “well that makes sense” or “I have an old droid that she loved to play with…I should do that” so I thought I would explain here.
First off, I try to limit his TV time and there is NO screen time at daycare at all. I know a little isn’t bad for him and if anything, good for us as a family sometimes. We decompress before bed for 30 minutes watching Curious George or Thomas. We don’t get tantrums when we turn it off. He just hops up and heads for bed. I am with Brandee all the way on that but there does need to be a limit. On a given week day, he may see 30 minutes max. Count the phone time, maybe 1 hour. I am ok with that. He turns around and reenacts the same story line with his trains…so I know it is developing some skills in there somewhere.
Add on top of this, the child’s desire to steal our phone and/or iPad to play Thomas coloring book or listen to Grover read to him. And the times we handed him our phone while waiting at the pediatrician or buying groceries or dinner takes an hour to come to the table…it was priceless.
So when Kevin got his new work phone, we canceled the personal plan and were left with an extra device. We started thinking…we had all these apps he loves to play, plus digital copies of movies…why not just load it up with just those? So we did. Now we get our iPads back and he has a source of entertainment on car rides. He doesn’t get it constantly and 99% of the time it is for to and from school(15 minutes commute). It is a privilege to have the phone. If he hits or bites a friend at school? No phone. If he is ugly to us in the morning before school? No phone. I think he gets it. He is crying in the backseat signing and saying “I sorry mommy!” when we throw down that gauntlet.
On top of all of this, he can control everything: unlock it, change movies, switch apps, etc. I think for a little one who CLEARLY likes to be in control, it is a great outlet for him. He doesn’t have to ask us…and I think he is comforted by that. Maybe I am projecting that but he is much calmer with it. He never throws it or really gets angry. He knows when the car stops, he has to turn it off. I would also like to point out the amount of mental development I have seen him establish while having it. Here are a few of our favorite apps and what I have seen him accomplish:
Lego Duplo Jams (free) – Memory game skills. When he first opened this game, he just clicked the train to watch it go by. Now? He has slowly taught himself the game of memory. They have a series of 6 cards and you have to match the animals. He used to just click haphazardly…now, he can do it. With precision. This happened in like 2 weeks. It was awesome to watch.
Toca Boca Robot Lab ($.99) – Understanding spatial relations. You build a robot and then fly it to get stars. He is slowly understanding the movements needed to “fly” the robot. At first he had no clue but I can see every time that he is getting better.
Toddler Teasers Shapes (Free) – This is a super simple app. Just a screen with 3-4 shapes. Voice asks for a shape along with the word on the screen. They have to pick the right one. He used to click the circle every time…now? He knows his shapes! Even a crescent!
Toca Boca Birthday Party ($1.99) – Sharing and pretend play. I already reviewed the tea party in this post but I wanted to go on more about them. He can serve everyone. Help clean up. Make choices. Seeing something that needs to be done and doing it (someone drinks all the tea, so he pours more). It is perfect. I could list every Toca Boca app on here…but you get the picture.
So am I still a crazy bad parent for brainwashing my child with all things Apple? If you are crazy too, what apps do you like?
P.S. My husband totally had this idea. I was worried about Landon having it too much but we can now listen to REAL music in the care that doesn’t have the Fresh Beat Band or Tangled. GLORIOUS!