|Griffin and his cousins gather around the magic glowing tablet.|
Are these resources indeed as wonderful as I want them to be?
What can I take away from the knowledge that Griffin is more likely to clamor to play a game on the iPad (which he'll mention several times a day) than to ask if he can ride his scooter through the neighborhood (several times a week)?
(But still, that's better than his wanting to watch television several times a day, right?)
When does the iPad stop being an interactive learning tool and turn into an electronic babysitter? (And can we even avoid that when we have two little children to take care of and need occasionally to shower, cook, and clean?)
And, good grief, why have we spent so much money on other light-up-and-make-noise games* that Griffin now disdains in favor of the sleek tablet with its infinite possibilities?
|Tonton Steve likes the iPad as much as the kiddos!|
My husband and I are pleased that Griffin isn't television-crazy; he likes watching Top Chef with us [and fortunately he hasn't yet tried to imitate the expletive-laden speech of the stressed-out chefs], DVDs from the library, songs and clips on YouTube, and a few DVDs and videos we have here at home. We attribute this mainly to the fact that when Griffin is home with me, I can't bear to let him spend his quality French time with me watching television in English! (I even discourage him from listening to music in English when it's just us.)
But, oh, the iPad. The iPad keeps him calm and happy in waiting rooms, at restaurants, when I'm nursing the baby, when he's the only kid at get-togethers. (And it's a lot easier to fit into the diaper bag than a couple of activity books, books to read, toys, and so forth.) He shows his native-speaking-French friends at playgroup his French iPad games, which changes up the group dynamics and boosts his confidence (he becomes the knowledgeable one!). He learns new words, new songs, new skills via the iPad, and in an interactive way (unlike if he were watching a video).
And I love playing iPad games with him and reading French books together on the device. It's very easy to encourage him to reply to me in French when he's so excited about the activities and stories! An added bonus: exposure to so many native speakers in the various apps.
I know we're fortunate to be able to buy an iPad and that many families raising children bilingually don't have access to the materials we have. You certainly don't need an iPad to teach your children another language.
But what a marvelous tool it is!
*LeapPad Learning System, Tag Reader, toy computer, Mon Premier Dokeo--all in French, thanks to eBay, eBay Canada, and amazon.fr.