Apps occupy toddlers

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 28, 2011

As the technology world is ever-changing, parents are using new portable devices to their advantage to comfort their children whether at home, the grocery store or in a local restaurant.

Moms like Jerri Grant use them as teaching tools.

“I use various preschool learning apps,” she said. “They have them for shapes, colors, numbers, letters and more to meet various skill/age levels.”

Additionally, Grant said she uses them to keep her son occupied while shopping.

“If I need help while I’m shopping, I will let him watch Calliou,” she said. “A lot of the children’s stations have full episodes you can download.”

Rachel Barnes, who has a 2-year-old daughter, said she allows her daughter to use apps that she can color with her fingers.

“But beware, you won’t be able to get your phone back without an argument,” she joked.

For other mothers, like Tina Lowe, it’s a reward system for her 4-year-old.

“Gracie likes the Kids Doodle game, too,” she said. “She gets to play Angry Birds as a reward for different things like helping clean her room or the kitchen or eating a good meal, which is very hard for her. So as long as she’s willing to do the things to get rewarded, I see no problem in it.”

All moms agreed it’s a great way to divert independent toddlers, who are into everything.

But with the iPhone or Android, the children, are occupied, sitting quietly in the shopping cart or restaurant booth, they said.

And these moms are not alone, national statistics show that about 40 percent of 2-to-4-year-olds have used a smartphone, tablet or video iPod.

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit group also estimated 1 in 5 parents give their children these devices to keep them occupied.

And there are thousands of apps to keep them occupied.

A simple search for the word “preschool” on iTunes, returns everything from interactive letters, numbers, shapes, colors, body parts to games to rhyming games with cartoon favorites like Dora the Explorer and kids songs. Many of these apps are available for no charge.