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Great Sites for Toddlers

) – Hands-on fun Crayola ( r child’s imagination featuring crayons and you – Activities that Lil’ Fingers (www.lilfinger g, and interactive learning encourage reading, drawin .us) – Games and Nick Jr. ( Blue, Dora, Little Bill, printable material featuring Jr. characters and all your favorite Nick org) – Arthur, Clifford, the PBS Kids (www.pbskids. and all your favorite PBS gang from Sesame Street, ies games, stories, and activit programs are featured in

says Meszaros. “Then you can also engage them in conversation about what they’re doing. That’s a higher level of learning than just ‘point and click.’” Setting time limits, like Lambert does, prevents young kids from spending too much time moving their mouse around. “Fifteen minutes is long enough for a young child to be at the computer,” says Cindrich. “Establish a time boundary early on, whether with a timer or a watch.” Start out with your child on your lap, and teach your toddler the following computer rules:

World Peep and the Big Wide – Interactive (www.peepandthebigwide oolers science activities for presch – A great site for (www.starfa kids just learning to read

• Wash your hands before using it. • Keep food and drinks away from the computer. • Sit facing straight ahead, with proper posture. • Only use the computer with a grown-up.

boys, Zachary, 6, and Maxwell, 4, who started playing a simple software game when they were about 2. “There are games like Clifford, Bob the Builder, and Blue’s Clues, and they have adjustable skill levels, which is nice.” They also play games on Nick Jr. online ( (See the sidebar for toddler-friendly websites.) “I think it’s definitely helped their matching and sorting skills, and it’s improved their eye-hand coordination,” she says. “I do think using the computer has been worthwhile.” The boys each have a daily time limit of 25 minutes, and they can only use the computer when Lambert or her husband is in the room. Yet the most advanced software is no match for simply spending time with, playing with, and reading to your toddler or preschooler. “I think many parents believe that they must rush, even before the baby is born, to get all the technological apparatuses ready,” says Peggy S. Meszaros, Ph.D., the William E. Lavery professor of human development and director of the Center for Information Technology Impacts on Children, Youth, and Families at Virginia Tech. “They fail to realize that they are the most powerful teachers their children have.” Computer time should be balanced with “outdoor activities and face-to-face activities that will help their children’s development intellectually, emotionally, and physically,” says Meszaros. And remember that a PC isn’t a babysitter for kids this young. “The parent should be sitting with the preschooler,”

Make sure that the room is well lit to reduce eye strain, and keep children at an appropriate distance from the computer screen. Teach your child to treat the computer responsibly, such as letting her clean the screen, turn it off when she’s done with it, and store and take care of her software discs. Like educational videos, computer games can’t replace reading or interaction, but your toddler may benefit from playing with your PC—with your help. Not only will she learn about numbers and letters, but she’ll help develop healthy computer habits as well.

Lock It Up! Now your computer and small items can stay safe when you have to step away for a few minutes. The Master Lock computer lock is made of durable metal construction for laptops or other devices with a built-in lock slot. For small items, try the portable safe. It protects MP3 players, cell phones, cash, credit cards, jewelry, keys, passports, or other small valuables and is made of durable, water-resistant construction. Simply wrap either of these appliances around a stationary device.

Family 2012  
Family 2012  

Family offers relevant information to help nurture happy, healthy children, as well as manage their inevitable bumps in the road. A publicat...