How many times have you tried to pay the bills, send emails, or do research on the internet, and your toddler or preschooler wants his turn too? Next to the telephone, or perhaps now the cell phone, the computer has emerged as one of the more frequently used “appliances” in the home. Young children need to learn routines and ways of sharing this great tool, and below are some ideas to help.
Setting up a family computing center:
- Set up your computer in a room where everyone can have access. Keep an extra folding chair nearby so that you can easily make a computer workstation comfortable for sharing tasks.
- When you have to do your work or bills on the computer, you can always create an office for the young child so he or she can “work” right next to you.
- When you play or surf with your child on the computer, be sure to give your child equal time using the mouse. Take turns so that your child develops a routine of sharing-a skill for every child to learn.
- Make sure the time your child spends on the computer is put to the best possible use by choosing software that encourages collaboration. Arcade-type games are fun, but also try selecting programs that teach concepts (math, letter recognition, sequencing, phonics, etc.) through skills such as logic, creativity, problem solving, strategy, and thinking.
Keep A Schedule:
- A sign-up sheet can be an effective tool for helping your child learn the concept of sharing. Give your child a block of time when the computer is his. Not only will your child have a sense of ownership over the computer, you will also have a built in time limit for your child’s session. If you use this approach, it is a good idea to give a 5-minute warning as the ending time approaches. Many children may need some time to wrap up their activities.