The use of ipads/tablets

It’s like marmite …you either love it or hate it!

Electronic devices such as ipads and tablets are now becoming popular in most family households. Some adults promote the use of them for their child whilst others despise it.

In terms of language development there are lots of pros and cons. Electronic devices are a motivating source due the colours being so stimulating. However, this can also means it can be addictive for children. Ensure that there is a balance.

Set time limits for children to use the i-pad.

 How to do it: Use sand timers or electronic timers so your child knows how long they have on their iPad or tablet.

Sometimes is can be difficult to get your child to carry out a task or activity or even homework when the i-pad is insight. Allowing a child to use it after a session or activity will motivate them to complete what has been asked.

Use the ipad/tablet as a reward.

 How to do it: Use ‘now and next’ or ‘first and last’ boards to show that they need to carry out the task/activity first and then they will get to use the iPad or tablet.

Ipads/tablets have so many functions that it can be difficult for children to stay on one app that you have set up for them to use. Ensure you lock the ipad/tablet on the programme you want them to stay on.

Set a pin number for children to access other apps.

 How to do it: Go to settings à Tap on accessibility -à Turn ‘on’ the tab guided access

Talk through the app with the child they are using. Make it an educational experience.

 Sit with your child and explain what they are doing or use language to explain to your child what they have to do.

 How to do: Point to the pictures on the i-pad that you are talking about.

Many parents ask Speech and Language Therapists “How else can I help my child with their language and communication?” Parents forget that ipads/tablets have just begun to become popular. Before these electronic devices children learnt the foundation elements through play through play.

Remember play is still essential in a child’s development of language. It is where language develops. Apps can be a one way system meaning that they can develop their understanding but they do not have a chance to develop their spoken language or social skills.

Ipads/tablets are not a substitute for play

So next time your child reaches for the iPad/tablet, have a think about an alternative form of play that can also be as motivating and exciting whereby they can continue to develop their skills in all areas.

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