We want the best for our little ones. We select allergen and dye-free diaper and detergent, we use PBA free sunscreen, and even make our own baby food to make sure there are no additives that could harm our children. However, what about toys? We want to give our babies every opportunity to develop their brains, so are tablets the future of our children’s’ toys?
Granted, there is a certain eye-hand coordination that takes place with tablets technology. Touch-screen technology makes interaction with computers amazingly simple, and there is certainly a place for this with our babies. As soon as a baby learns what his hands are for, and learns to reach for an item he or she wants, he is able to interact with a LeapFrog or Kurio. However, there is much more at stake here than touching something he sees. Babies still don’t have a dimensional understanding of objects, so they must manipulate items. Every time a baby grasps his pacifier, his blanket, his baby toys, a rubber ball, neurons are being formed in his brain that register the concept of weight, texture, smell, size, and many other elements that make up the item. Simply being in a different room when they pick up that item will create a whole different set of neurons.
This is all part of eye-hand coordination. It’s not just touching something you’re looking at. It’s predicting what you’re going to feel when you do touch it. Have you ever picked up a full gallon of milk, only to find that it is nearly empty? The result is often hysterical as it looks like the jug is rocket propelled. There is a lot involved in looking at an item and preparing to handle it.
Cause and Effect
The milk jug gives us, also, an example of cause and effect. Analysis of the situation will tell us that the jug was empty, and we didn’t know it, so our muscles and the effort we exerted into lifting the jug were too much for the situation. But the experience of cause and effect makes us analyse the event in more subjective ways. The surprise, sometimes embarrassment, and physical imbalance of the event register far more in our senses and brain function than the mere logic of what caused the effect.
This is what a baby encounters many times every day. This is why we love babies, and learn to see the world in a new light through their eyes. And, this is why tablets cannot ever replace toys, and mommy’s necklace, and daddy’s cell phone as training for our children. Tablets offer untold education to children, but only through one window – the window of the screen on the tablet. Children grow through exploring every possibility, and to limit them to only one is foolish.
So, don’t worry that your child won’t be as smart as others if he doesn’t have a tablet. Chances are, he may be smarter.