The tablet experiment

Last week, we dug up the girls’ tablets from their hid­ing place.  I spent a hour adding time lim­its and lock­ing down the avail­able apps to just a few pre-screened, edu­ca­tion­al games.  They have Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablets, which I am extreme­ly hap­py with.  (I might do a post lat­er on how I have them set up.)

On the night before we revealed them, we told the girls that if they were well-behaved and went right to sleep, they would get tablet time the next day.  My wife and I both prayed real­ly hard that they would take it seri­ous­ly.  As it turned out, they did.  The next morn­ing, I hand­ed them the tablets, helped them get start­ed, and got my work done in rel­a­tive quiet.

With only a half hour of screen time allowed, the peace did­n’t last long.  It was long enough to get my meet­ings out of the way, though.  When the time ran out, the girls weren’t super hap­py, but they got over it.

The best part was watch­ing them play with the read­ing and math games I found for them.  We end­ed up grab­bing three preschool-tar­get­ed apps: Monkey Preschool Lunchbox, Monkey MathSchool Sunshine, and Monkey Word School Adventure, by Thup Games.  These are all free on Amazon, or $1.99 on the Google Play store.  I would have glad­ly payed the $1.99, and was pleas­ant­ly sur­prised to find them for free on Amazon.

MathSchool and Word School are a bit too much for E, who is only 3.  JR, the 4‑year-old, has been hap­pi­ly switch­ing between them and has most­ly aban­doned Lunchbox.  I have proud­ly watched E come upon the mem­o­ry mini-game and fig­ure it out in a mat­ter of min­utes, while JR was sit­ting next to her sight-read­ing sim­ple words in the bub­ble-pop­ping game.

The exper­i­ment went well.  We have been able to use the tablets as an award for good behav­ior with­out dra­mat­i­cal­ly increas­ing the girls’ screen time.  The girls have been learn­ing read­ing, math, and gen­er­al prob­lem-solv­ing skills.

Sometime in the future, I’ll post a walk­through of how I set up the tablets.

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