Technology is a part of everyday life. It can also be a valuable tool for early intervention (EI) teams to use to share information and progress. Infants and toddlers learn more from interacting with their caregivers and the important people in their lives, such as siblings, friends, and other family members, than they can from technology alone. However, using technology side by side can promote learning and development. Here are some areas where using developmentally appropriate technology in your daily routines can help your child learn:
Encourage your child to move and dance to music played on a tablet or other device. Record videos of your child’s crawling, walking, or other motor skills to share information or questions about your child’s progress with your EI team. Children also can develop hand-eye coordination and finger strength as they use simple technological elements such as buttons and switches.
Social-Emotional, Language, and Cognitive Skills
Young children love to see pictures of familiar people, places, and things. Look at photos and videos together and talk about them. Encourage children to name what they see and tell simple stories about the photos. Look for eBook versions of picture books with interactive elements. Picture communication apps can support your child’s communication skills.
Encourage your child to use technology elements that are part of everyday life such as elevator buttons, drinking fountains, hand driers, and automatic doors with switches. While seemingly simple, these elements provide opportunities to discuss how the items work. It also introduces children to concepts such as cause and effect and lets them practice following directions.
Managing Challenging Behavior
Use a stopwatch or visual timer app on your device to help your child know when an activity is about to end. You might try apps on a mobile device to create a checklist or picture schedule that will help your child know what is going to happen. Your child can help check off each item on the list or stop the timer’s sound to help with the transition to the next activity.