#iPadOnly book » Section 3 - There's an app for that! » Chapter 24 - Parenting

Chapter 24 - Parenting

Kids can teach a parent a thing or two about using the iPad

Being a parent is the most fulfilling and gratifying job on earth. Having children is like discovering completely new feelings you never thought you had.

In the last chapter we discussed how the iPad can be used for learning - for both adults and children. In this chapter, let’s take this thought a little deeper and talk how the iPad really helps with parenting.

Augusto’s children learn on iPad:

“In my household we try to push for educational applications over games. Our daughter knows how to play with the iPad but we like her to use it to learn rather than play. Because of that we decided to give her a LeapFrog LeapPad device for games. I have always been a believer that you should separate your working and playing tools, and it is for that reason that we decided to teach her to see the LeapPad as a game tool and use the iPad mostly for learning. Our iPads have learning apps as well as books that are appropriate for her age. On the other hand, it is a constant challenge because she would prefer to play on the iPad. The good thing is, because she knows that her father works on the iPad, she is able to see the iPad more as a ‘work’ rather than ‘play’ device.”

Michael dedicated one old iPad 1 as a play and learn device:

“My 4-year old loves the iPad. She plays games, does puzzles, plays memory games, keeps drawings, sketches and the like… and watches Pixar movies (she’s currently into ‘Wall-e’ and wants to be called Eva).

If you’re a parent it’s great to investigate the apps available for kids. Especially the apps related to the movies and shows they are watching every day. Most of them are not games alone but carefully constructed educational apps that are themed with things like ‘Hello Kitty’, ‘Cars’, ‘Thomas and Friends’, and the like.

I watch my girl and see which movies she really likes and later get her the educational apps that match the theme. For example, we have a few ‘Thomas and Friends’ apps on the iPad and they include puzzles, memory games, short movies, drawing exercises… and so much more.

I had an old iPad 1st generation and I configured it entirely for my daughter. I advise many parents to go to eBay and get an old iPad 1 and configure it for their kids. It’s an inexpensive toy and so much fun. And get the Apple’s cover for the iPad. The black cover. Otherwise, the kids will totally kill the machine by dropping it accidentally.”

Warning – plan an iPad-free days for kids

The problem with the iPad is that it can be addictive for kids. It is a great trick to calm down a 4-year old by giving her an iPad but you have to watch out. We’ve found out that we needed to put strict rules in place like: ‘you will only play for one hour today’ or ‘today we don’t play with the iPad’. If we fail to put these rules in place, the child loses interest in anything else and only looks for the iPad and asks for it all of the time.

‘Parental controls’ to the rescue

Plus, it’s good to put the ‘Parental controls’ in place and disable in-app-purchases for the kids as well as new apps purchases (all available in iPad’s settings). Many games for kids have hidden options to buy more… you don’t want your kid to burn your credit card now do you?

In the same way that we need to use self-control toward our devices, we need to teach our kids to exercise control when using our devices (or their devices).If we don’t teach them to use their devices to work and learn how can we expect them to discover a better way?

Apps for both kids and parents

Just like our parents used to play table games with us, we can use the iPad to play with our kids It can be used to read interactive books to them, and to show them the world through the magical, ‘touchy’ screen of the iPad.

As we mentioned in the last chapter about learning, parents can find fantastic apps on the iPad to help them learn, grow, play and watch movies.

We have the first eighteen years of our kids lives to provide them with the tools that help them grow and get the most out of the experiences in life and more importantly so that after the moment they reach eighteen they can continue growing and being productive.

Next Chapter: Chapter 25 - Entertainment

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