Posts Tagged ‘technology and children’

Monster is now 10 months old, and if there is one thing I have learnt it is that you can have an agenda in mind with how you are going to teach them certain things, but you can never anticipate their agenda to learn.

I have been an IT trainer for many years, even when my sole job has not been a trainer I have still managed to incorporate it into most of my roles. I heard a very apt description of this occupation recently and that is not only is it a privilege, but also you are always informed.

Part of the job is to find out the clients’ requirements. Once this is obtained, then you can effectively cater the session to meet their needs, which not only is time effective, it can also be cost effective. However, the greatest value of all means that the client gains the knowledge they require rather than unnecessary information.

With a baby, it is different as they cannot tell you their needs, it is up to you to interpret them.

One would think that there are certain core elements to a child’s development that they naturally pick up from their surroundings, and if they are lucky enough to have numerous toys to play with. The trick is to rotate the toys so they don’t become bored, and my monster suffers greatly with that, but at the same time try and meet their needs and make it fun.

If learning is fun then they will grasp what they need to quicker and more thoroughly. One thing I have learnt with Monster is that they are fuelled by belligerence (well I actually knew that before they were born), but they are also quite ambitious and want to learn everything now. So it is my job… no purpose… to help them get where they need to be, but also include the skills that they wouldn’t necessarily gravitate towards, but that are still essential.

This is where it can get tricky, as one can become over obsessed with teaching their children things that it becomes less fun, and as a result they can then become unenthusiastic to learn.

I found myself recently doing this and not necessarily scheduling every moment, but allotting time and rotating toys in a precise way, so Monster got the overall skillset I felt they needed. They soon lost enthusiasm and found that playing with doors and shutting me out of rooms was a far more valuable education, as well as lots of fun.  I then took a step back, realised what I was doing and adopted a more laid back approach. I was surprised with myself as the approach my husband and I have taken so far has been natural and easy going, so I couldn’t understand why I felt the need to schedule Monster’s learning.

Today Monster and I played a wooden alphabet game where you place the letters back in their respective holes, and Monster gets to the point where part of the board is complete, and then they pick it up and turn it upside down. In fact Monster did that with their dinner too, so it could have been an off day, but I had to stop myself from saying ‘no you have to fill in every gap’ and then it is finished. I had to remember that Monster is a baby and when babies grasp how to do something, they want to do it again and again. Even though it is ‘old hat’ to us, it is a whole new world for them.

So with that in mind, I may not be able to verbally grasp what Monster needs, but so long as we cover the basics and try and make it as fun as possible, then I do not think we can go wrong. Overall the most valuable point of all of this is time, and this is where Monster gets the best out of me. After all that’s all children want is our time.

When writing this, I was reminded of a Star Trek Voyager episode where Seven of Nine has taken on four former Borg children…. and she schedules fun with a military precise manner.

This is something that every parent questions, and I won’t lie, when calling my mother up the other day to find out how Monster was, and receiving the answer “Ok, they are on my tablet”, it did send a slight chill down my spin. But we are a society obsessed by technology, is it any wonder that our children are now born knowing what to do with a smartphone?

Well actually, I think it is. I am still amazed when Monster is allowed within a few centimetres of a device and knows what to do with it.

If there is one thing I have learnt over the last 6 months doing this Monster rearing lark is that children are like sponges. Even from birth they are continuously learning, we are continuously training them and we sometimes forget just how perceptive they are.

The above may be a very obvious statement, but when seeing my in-laws’ children recently who are 2 years and ‎17 weeks, I noticed when in the presence of technology, for example a smartphone, much like my Monster they will, as if by instinct swipe the screen. It is not like they are scrolling for something in particular, they just know to swipe the screen. It was comforting to know that it astonished my sister-in-law the first time she saw it as well.

This seems to be the same with laptops. In the space of a minute, Monster had scrolled using the trackpad to several browser tabs, nearly purchasing something off of Ebay and was scrolling through some random website – must remember parental blocks in the future – all because they had sat and watched how it was operated by my husband and I. It makes you wonder what was going through Monster’s head at the time.

The Daily Mail (which is not my first choice of rag), published an article about this and other sites, namely Medical News Today have mentioned the benefits and disadvantages.

While I am inclined to just go with it and accept that technology will be heavily involved in the lives of the coming generations, I can’t help but say, let children be children. Though when I was a child it was the norm to go outside, run around, climb trees, ride bikes and do our homework out of text books, now we have Google. Need I say more.