iPads; Tools or Terrors?

My daughter loves my iPad. Like really loves it. Like loves it a little more than me. I don’t think it is a stretch to say it is one of her favorite toys. It is the only thing we have found that will entertain her in the car, or calm her down at the doctor’s office. I know this sounds horrible, that at 2 she is so obsessed with technology.  It bothers both my wife and I. We were worried that she was so attached to it and decided to put a stop to it.

On our first attempt, it didn’t go well. She cried. She screamed, and she did it for hours. I am not proud to say we gave in. Well kinda. We downloaded some apps. My wife did some research and found some age appropriate learning apps. We figured that if she was going to be on the iPad we may as well see if she can learn something.

Then something funny happened. She started to learn things that we have been trying, and failing, to teach her for a while. For those that don’t know her, she is what we will call a “strong-willed” child.  Examples? Well take her colors. She was didn’t want to learn them. She wouldn’t pay attention, she wouldn’t sit still. She refused to learn her colors. We spent months trying to teach them to her with no success.

Less than a month with the apps on the iPad and she was asking for certain color shirts. She was pointing out letters on signs as we would walk around the grocery store. Her shape puzzle that previously mystified her was now fun as she would proudly name the shape she was holding.

We were taken aback. Now from this growing problem seemed to be a plethora of development and growth. Part of it I am sure is just based on her age. As she has grown older, her abilities increased and she was ready to learn. But it would be foolish to say that the iPad had no effect.

Currently she is playing with her sisters early reading app. Not having mastered her full alphabet yet I didn’t put much thought into it. That is until she pointed out the word “no” to me. She has only done this once and I am not sure if she recognized it as a symbol or as letters put together as a word but it is still exciting.

We have taken a wait-and-see approach. We don’t want her too dependent on this piece of hardware, but we also don’t want to hinder the success we have had with it. We have started limiting her time on the iPad.  Around thirty minutes a day, although not all at one time, for those wondering. She is still young and I do want her using her imagination and to run and jump and play.

The big difference is I am not as worried about it as I was. Like anything, I am starting to look at the iPad as a tool, not a hinderance. We have taken some precautions like turning off in-app purchases or removing some games that would distract her from the apps I want her to use. For the most part though she chooses what she wants to work on and learn.

Below are some of the apps we have had success with. I am not saying that these will work for you just that we like them. And now I am off to clean the ten layers of goo off my iPad, all prepped for more learning time tomorrow.


Click on picture to link to iTunes

Signing Time
Meet The Colors
Meet the Numbers
Meet the Shapes
Meet the Letters







If you do not have an iPad please click here

And PLEASE if you plan on letting your kids use it buy a case. We use a Lifeproof case and to be honest with my kids it is needed.

Photo from Tia Henriksen – flickr.com – CC



Bryan Alkire

Bryan is a Stay at Home Dad from Kalamazoo MI. Every day he is lucky enough to experience the joys and struggles of raising his two young girls. His older daughter, a brain tumor survivor, has just started school. His younger daughter is a ball of energy that always keeps him on his toes. He chronicles his adventures with his girls and beautiful wife on his blog www.kzoodad.com. When not watching the girls he plays golf (badly), enjoys craft beer, and working on that book he keeps promising to get done.

3 thoughts on “iPads; Tools or Terrors?

  • November 25, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    This is a very sad article. You have used the ipad because you cannot find a way to teach your daughter things yourself. To teach colors, simply refer to things by their color constantly “we are using the blue spoon!”. This is lazy parenting. There is no excuse for letting an ipad cause an attention disorder in your child because you haven’t done your proper research and really experimented with ways to teach your child. You don’t sit down a baby and say “now this is blue…”. You should take this article down from your site immediately to not lead to this happening in any other children. VERY bad advice. Try using a real parenting or child development expert in the future.

    • November 25, 2014 at 11:32 pm

      Sara. I’m sorry you feel that way. But I feel you missed the point. I was happy to find that ipad could be a tool. When traditional means were not getting through, an alternative method has. Also, we worked with a development expert. She is the one that suggested apps and showed us how it could be a tool. She showed us how to take a natural interest and use it to help our daughter thrive. Also dont feel bad for my daughter. She is working in sight words right now at 2. She will be fine.

    • December 20, 2014 at 10:25 pm

      Sara! Are you serious??? How many kids do you have? And are they kids now or grow? The world is changing. I’m right there with you Bryan.


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