What did you think when you first introduced your children to technology?
Did you think they would somehow become so tech savvy that they would better retain the information they received?
Both my husband and I believed that by using technology, it would allow my son to learn in a more effective and efficient way. What we did not realize was that, while my son was learning, we were missing out and not capitalizing on those special bonding moments with him.
Those moments, the one-to-one interactions he longed for with me, I found were slowly being replaced with gadgets. I knew I had to do something to integrate technology into my family life without one affecting the other. As his first teachers, we could no longer just give him a device and send him on his way. We needed to be his main learning source and technology would be the resource used to further expand his point of view on his experiences.
Why not just give up the tech gadgets altogether?
1. We are total Geeks and tech is what we do….
2. Technology isn’t going anywhere, and my son is a part of the digital generation. His world now consists of these tools and, in my opinion, would be pointless to take them away when they are an integral part of his learning.
So what did we do about it?
So after having this a-ha moment, we realized we needed to stop sitting at the dinner table with a tablet or smartphone in hand to check e-mail or update social media sites. The need for us to constantly be connected became, as sad as it sounds, a normal part of who we were as a family.
We then decided it is crucial to integrate technology into our daily lives as a family. It was no longer about each of us going our separate ways with our respective devices. Instead, we needed to get involved in teaching him about how to properly use the tools and how fun they could be for all of us.
We decided to take tech on our family adventures and use it as an integral teaching tool. This, we figured would be the best way for us to provide him with the genuine, quality time he deserved while sharing the tools and gadgets we love.
Explore Your World 1 of 7
Showing my son the city he and his parents are from and the love we have for her is monumental. Every time we visit different neighborhoods, he is in awe of just how much there is to see, do, smell, and eat. And what better place to have him come of his shell and express himself than walking through the streets of New York City. What do we do in NYC? Well, every weekend we venture off into the concrete jungle, have brunch (he and I share a meal), and then head off to his favorite places like the Museum of Natural History, The Central Park Zoo or walk through Central Park. We gave him his own digital camera and he walks around taking pictures of things that interest him. We print them out and frame his works of art.
Let His Creativity Shine 2 of 7
My son loves draw and we wholeheartedly embrace his love for the arts. It is his expressive outlet, something that is exclusively his and we welcome the inner Pollock in him. We take him to the Museum of Modern Art (the 4th floor has an amazing display for kids to explore) here in NYC and also show him my husband's work as a photographer as different ways to interpret art.
Pick Up a Book 3 of 7
I am a bookworm and we have bonded over our love of books. We spend our Sundays at the local Barnes and Noble, we each get a cupcake, look, read, and get lost in books. We both cherish the one-on-one time together. It's become our thing.
Form a Bond 4 of 7
These two love each other dearly. Not a day that goes by that they are not rejoicing in each other's company, playing, screaming and bickering over toys. There is nothing like forming a human connection with someone and our ultimate goal is to form a lifelong unbreakable bond between these two. What I found interesting was that my older son was using VTech Baby's Light-Up Laptop to teach the baby words of the objects and numbers. Our son, who at 4.75 years old still has difficulty pronouncing words, was helping his baby brother, who at 8 months is blabbering away.
Just Be a Kid 5 of 7
There is nothing like being at the Happiest Place on Earth to let your inhibition go and just be a kid. Show off your silly, fun, on-parent side.
See Things From Their Vantage Point 6 of 7
Getting my son to express what he sees is a huge feat, so we always get down to his level and try to see things through his eyes as much as possible. He took this picture recently at the Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Station last weekend.
Role Play 7 of 7
Experts say, role playing increases communication and imagination in children. So what do we do? We set up an "office" and the VTech Baby's Light-Up Laptop and imitates me typing away or we go food shopping/cook using the VTech 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset We also don our crime fighting masks and make up half of the crime fighting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.