Can your smart device disconnect your tot?

When the iPhone, iPad and other smart devices were introduced with their app rich platforms they made life easy for parents worldwide. If your child is not eating, show him a video on the smart phone, if he is bored at a party let him play a game, if you are taking a long ride there couldn’t be a more compact and entertaining toy. Smart phone device companies have provided a magical wand in the parents hands to control just about any tantrum, any melt down or eliminating boredom for their tots. Also it’s form factor helps us carry it with us just about anywhere in a pocket, in a purse, in a bag. A perfect on the go device.

But as my tot turned 4 years old this year I am starting to feel that the smart devices are likely to disconnected my tot from everything around him. Especially during our travels I want him to be looking around, experiencing a different world and immersing himself in his own little ways. This time around I am trying to hide these devices, remove apps that are not enriching and providing a specific time of access vs. providing access on demand. Setting a certain amount of time and a schedule to access the device could surely prove enriching. But using these devices in other uncalled situations – we might be robbing our children from opportunities to learn, socialize and immerse.

So everyday when I need to prepare dinner and my tot is on the verge of hunger we spend about 20 minutes on our smart device. I did leave a story on the IPad besides the 3 other apps I would like him to explore.

Don’t let your smart device disconnect your tot, let him grow, get bored at times and find his own creative ways of entertainment.

These 2011-2012 statistics gathered by MDG Advertising might not surprise you:
Kid Tech, According To Apple [Infographic]
Infographic
by MDG Advertising

Quick tips for your upcoming road-trip

Kudos to all the parents taking a road trip with your tots this summer. We love parents that travel at TitterTot. We recently drove to Boston with Devam – our now 2 year old son. Devam is a particularly good travel buddy, we sang “Jingle Bells” – yes that is his favorite, I made up stories, we passed by a deer that got him terribly excited to see more animals along the way (which did not happen) and we stopped at a Dunkin Donuts as he was curious about donuts (thanks to all the billboards along the way). He surely didn’t like the donuts, did not want to have lunch, but was happy to just chow down his Goldfish and take an hour nap. Right about 45 minutes before we got to Boston my wonderful boy turned into a voracious, insatiable bazoo. Nemo (the movie) saved us and we made it to Boston in great spirits.

Tools to ensure a fun ride

It is such a challenge to take long road trips with kids, but here are some ideas that could make it fun for all and keep the fuss out:

1)    Keeping your tot entertained:

  • Take music that your tot enjoys, you can sing-along
  • Take books that your tot can read/flip & books that others can read to the tot
  • Take favorite toys. Travel accessories made by companies like Ben-Bat are great to keep your tot entertained.
  • Take media players like a DVD player (when patience runs extremely thin) or an iPad. You can find a case for the iPad that attaches to the back of the front passenger seat, so your tot can watch movies on it.
  • Pre-select good spots to stop at E.g.: Playgrounds with jungle gyms where you can take a break during your trip, farms, rest-stops etc.
  • In regards to snacks, take low calorie and high protein snacks that will not fill her/him up and keep her/him light and happy
  • Install a baby car mirror so you can keep an eye on your tot while driving. Safety 1st makes a good car mirror

2)    Keeping your tot comfortable: No matter what age they are, they need to be comfortable for a long ride. If your tot is still riding in his car-seat make sure that he is comfortable in terms of the seats recline position, make sure his harness is snug and loose and that he can look outside the window. If you are traveling during summer, cover the seat with a cotton sheet to make sure your tot is not hot. Keep the sun out – use a window shade. Keep it cool in the car. Make sure your tot has his favorite nap-time lovee with him to keep company, be it a blanket, Elmo or big bird.

3)    Nursing:  If you are still nursing, you will need to make frequent stops unless you have a substitute driver on the trip. If you do have a substitute driver you might be able to pump and feed. Getting your tot on a predictable nursing schedule will help you on your car trip.

4)    Eating out + Celiac disease: I will suggest carrying pre-packaged baby foods based on your tot’s eating stage and foods that usually suit her/him. It might be best to not take a chance with foods prepared in random restaurants along the way especially if your tot suffers from Celiac disease. You can also pre-select restaurants along the way that work best for everyones appetite, we don’t want upset stomachs (be it your tot or yourself) on a long car ride.

5)    Keeping it clean: Between kids, pets, friends and family traveling in your car, keeping it clean is a challenge. Carry spill free drinking and snack containers (snack traps are a great option). Make sure you are traveling with garbage bags and wipes. Take a break for meals to keep the crumbs and the smell out. And let your tots carry their own back-packs so all their toys can be stored in there. We will write a more detailed blog on this shortly.

I often travel to Boston, which is a 4-5 hour trip with my 2-year-old son, I take off around his bed-time (6:30PM) and am able to get to Boston while he is still napping. If you are going to be traveling for longer hours you should not drive late nights for your and your tot’s safety, but you could travel a part of the way while your tot is napping, take a break at a hotel along the way and travel the rest early in the morning. It always helps to avoid traveling during your tot’s lunch or dinner hours.

I hope that all you parents traveling with your tots you have a fabulous time and wishing you a safe journey.

Let us know if this was helpful, leave us a comment below.

Mistakes to avoid on on-flight journeys – Part I

Many kids travel product companies like Ben-Bat are pitching fancy back-packs, comfy headrests, bulky travel potty options, etc. These products are great if you are taking a road trip but a night mare if you are taking a flight. On my long flight journey to India in December of 2010 (Devam was 1 and a half yrs old), I took with me a car seat, my backpack (in place of a diaper-bag) and very unwillingly – Devam’s toy backpack. The GoGo Kids Travel mate was a savior as it converted my car seat into a stroller and my back-pack was essential as it held my travel documents, Devam’s diapers, wipes, emergency medicines, a change of clothes for him and for me. What made it all very difficult was Devam’s toy back-pack. It added no value to the trip and it was one more thing for me to carry, remember and store. A quick advice my friends, these products may look great, but if the parent is going to ultimately manage them, it is not a good idea for on-flight entertainment. The solution is to carry one or two small toys, 2 small books and your IPad in your diaper bag or backpack.