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Book Dr. Kathy

Conversations Count: Talking Never Goes Out of Style

Were you one of the many who read last week’s blogs here and here? Thanks so much! I loved sharing with you that play is valuable. We must never forget it. Playing seems old-fashioned to many, but it will always be valuable. Always!

Did you catch something else that I included in both blogs? Interactions between children and parents have the same positive effects as play. Talking matters. It, too, should never be out of style. Conversations count.

When reading recently about young children’s television viewing habits and use of games and apps for learning, I was struck by these truths: The chief factor that helps young children learn from commercial media and educational games/apps is parents watching with them and reteaching the content. When parents engage with their children when they’re using technology, the children reap the most benefit from what they view and what they do.

Parents matter. Be involved. Listen. Talk. Point to the pictures. Laugh. Reread. Explain.

Like me, do you see many young children (sometimes very young!) using technology on their own? Little children with a parent’s old phone, tapping and swiping and even smiling? None of this guarantees learning will last. They may know their ABC’s in that moment or that a cat makes a certain sound, but it doesn’t mean any of that will last.

I’m concerned that parents may rely on these encounters and not sit with their children to learn the basics in other ways. They may have a rude awakening in the future.

As I wrote last week, taking breaks from technology regularly for other kinds of play experiences is very valuable. When you do let your children use technology, use it together and talk with them. Interact with them when you do things together. Repeat. Use it together and talk with them. Interact with them when you do things together. Repeat.

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