The Nightly Routine:
My nightly routine has been to read one or more bed-time stories to my daughter, Heba. Heba definitely looks forward to the story time and most nights she would not be happy with just one story. So, buying new story books and renting story books from the library became part of my weekly routine. That’s the only way I could keep myself enthused about storytelling by not reading the same books over and over again. I am sure most parents will agree with me that some of the story books that toddlers like are not very entertaining to adults.
The clip from the movie “Despicable Me” where Gru reads the story for the first time to the kids was right on the money. Though most nights I do not feel like Gru but I have to admit that the story books that Heba picks up from the library are not classic material too.
A few things changed when we got the new iPad.
iPad Changes Routine
Change #1: I downloaded some App Books from Disney. These App Books not only have stories but puzzles, animations and games. So, the first change was that we stopped making a weekly trip to the library. So, I was happy because it saved me time. Library is my daughter’s favorite place and some days when I was not in a hurry, we would spend anywhere from 3 to 4 hours in the library. So, getting a few hours back in my week is a welcome change.
Change #2: Heba likes these App Books so much that she is spending more time playing with the iPad which means less time watching TV. Since she is learning a lot from the App Books and the educational games, we are not minding her time with iPad. Also, restricting her to less TV was getting more and more tougher for both of us. So, a win-win situation and one less parenting task.
Change #3: As any parent would do, I also was spending some time teaching Heba some of the Kindergarten subjects. This task has changed because of the educational games. Heba is learning to read, recognize words, spell words and do some basic math from these educational games. Since these games incentivizes (one of the favorite words in the health care industry now) so that she earns coins, stickers and stars, the learning is rapid. I am hoping that it keeps up.
Change #4: Since I was reading the story books from iPad and even though the stories were still the same, the novelty of reading it from the iPad made it more interesting for me. But that changed last night. Without thinking much I asked Heba whether she wanted me to read the “Miss Spider” story or the girl from iPad. Without any hesitation Heba chose the girl from the iPad. When I asked her why, she said that the girl from the iPad reads the story lot better than me.
For a moment I felt betrayed but then I realized there is no way I can compete with the voice that tells the story in the iPad. The girl who reads the story is trained and has many variations in her voice. And on top of that she does not yawn in the middle of a sentence or fall asleep like I do sometimes.
This was game-changing. All I had to do last night was give her the iPad and the girl from iPad read her the “Miss Spider” story while I was checking Twitter on my iPhone. A win-win for both of us. Way to go iPad.
Here is one small example of how game changing iPad is. The parenting tasks that I delegated to iPad may not go well with some parents but the idea is that if a kid can be entertained and educated with less parental supervision then you are empowering the kid to learn at his/her own pace and the by product is that you have some free time. Who doesn’t want some spare hours here and there in this busy life?