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As we protected our daughter from gadgets

Today I want to tell a story about our daughter's acquaintance with the digital world. The story is about early parental mistakes and their effect. This story tells you how we've stopped to use а TV, а tablet and а computer in education of our daughter.

I impose nobody my point of view. All loving parents wish their children only the best things. Parents try to choose everything good and right. My husband and I made a choice almost a year ago, and we have never regretted about it.

The destiny presented us our wonderful daughter. Her name is Stasya. From her birth our little girl was sunny, cheerful and calm baby. We didn't know sleepless nights, nutritional problems or crying. She often was cheerful and smiling girl. She was very curiosity children. Books, developing toys, interesting subjects – everything interested her very much so.

By the way, the term "development" was very important for us. It was lika a fad. When our daughter was half a year, she watched the first animated cartoon from the "Tiny Love" series. Stasya fell in love with it at once. We watched this animated cartoon regularly. We loved the songs and expressions from "Tiny Love".

We decided to give Stasya a chance to watch more animated films. When she was one year old, she completely reviewed "Timmy Time", "Patrick and his friends" and many Soviet animated cartoons, for example "The Bremen musicians". Soon we became acquainted with the Luntik, Fiksiks and Pig Peppa. Daughter enjoyed Pig Peppa so much. Also the channel "Karusel" with its Bee Maya, Arkady Parovozov became our favourite. The daughter, of course, wanted more and more.

At the same time Stasya explored gadgets. When she was 9 months, we downloaded interesting applications into the smartphones. For example: musical apps with voices of animals, amusing like "Sago Mini". We made our first family trip. Gadgets helped to entertainment Stasya during the way.

When sha was one year old, she well knew all the games. But there appeared the first problem. Our daughter took our smartphones to play. Therefore we decided that Stasya grew for her own gadget. We downloaded the same games into the tablet. It became Stasya's tablet. Everybody wondered how quickly our girl explored gadgets. It seemed that everything goes well. The daughter "developed" and parents had free time.

Big problems appeared when Stasya was a year and two months old. Firstly pace of development of speech had decreased. We realized that Stasya learned new words from books which she refused to read completely now. Then the difficulties with a sleep began. Our daughter who always easily fell asleep, suddenly began to be capricious.

Maybe it was age of reorganization, adaptation, etc. But seriously we started to worry when Stasya began to be irritated, crying and pugnacious for no reason. Besides, interest to other hobbies gradually vanished: drawing, molding, reading books, listening to the music … She wanted only animated cartoons and the tablet now.

I suspected why it has happened. But all the time I tried to find justifications and other reasons. I started monitoring this question in the Network. Of course, there were many opponents of an early using the TV and gadgets. Opponents were not only mummies from forums, but also professional psychologists and physicians. I looked for answers for two weeks. I didn't find any argument in favor of "early development by using gadgets and TV". Experts were categorical.

Then I decided to consult to the teacher in our Montessori-group. Olga – the true kid's education professional. And simply she is a very nice person. After my question how to correct using the TV and gadgets in process of Stasya's education, I received a definite answer. To age of 3 years it is necessary to refuse it completely. When the child elder than 3 years old gadgets should be used only for education and getting knowledge. Of course, nobody forces parents. But experts recommend so.

Olga also told a story about three years old girl. She still visits her in the Montessori-center. The girl had a digital dependence. She interested nothing, didn't play with other kids. Simply she sat and looked in one point. Passed a lot of time before the girl changed her behavior. It is an extreme behavior, but indicative.

Then I came back home in doubt. I remembered my dreams when Stasya wasn't born yet. I dreamed every day how we walk together, we talk, we create something, we cook. There were no TV or tablet in my plans.

I was frank with myself. I understood that the desire to give my child all-round development actually - laziness and convenience. I talked to my husband. He agreed: it is time to do something with this problem.

We solved it. The TV was switched-off from the socket. The tablet was hidden in a case. Our smartphones was out of reach. We led preparatory discussion with our little girl. By the way, we did the same with grandmothers and grandfathers too. Everybody knew our rules for now. We've began new life. We thought that it is going to be very difficult. We were ready to the daughter's protest. We didn't expect an easy result.

We thought up the whole program of adaptation for the daughter. The main task was not allow Stasya miss and did nothing. It was necessary to rediscover all variety of interesting occupations for the daughter. The daughter had to spend time without animated cartoons and the tablet.

In a first day of an experiment Stasya asked for the tablet as soon as she woke up, tried to watch cartoons on TV and so on. Having heard that it is impossible, she slightly was crying but at once she started looking for alternatives. So everything began quietly. In a week the daughter has already forgot about animated cartoons and the tablet.

These simple receptions made transition to life without gadgets easy and painless. Maybe these councils will also help other parents who want to relieve the child of electronics.

Here our councils:

* We downloaded songs from favourite animated films. All of them are in a free access in the Network. Such idea was pleasant to Stasya. She still loves and listens to these songs.

* We bought 2-3 books about characters from animated cartoons. It was made in order that Stasya didn't miss TV and the laptop. The daughter rejoiced very much so, learned and named all of the heroes. In the beginning Stasya opened the book and moved fingers according to the picture as though it was the tablet. Small magazines with different stickers which can be moved solved our problem too. In times of the tablet and TV Stasya has forgotten about books. We refused electronics. So reading again became the hobby. We can spend the whole day with books, and it won't be boring.

* We suited puppet theater for the daughter. It was pleasant to our daughter very much so. This name of the theatre was very conditional. We used dolls mittens not always. We have bought some acquaintances cartoon characters: the Bee Maya made of rubber, the pig Peppa, the Luntik, etc. All figures small and cheap. These figures are on sale in all children's shops. Therefore the daughter didn't miss animated cartoons.

At puppet theater we used a children's chair as a scene. We chose 2-3 toys (at first the cartoon heroes, and then any other toys). We thought out a plot. For example small instructive sketches or repetition of polite phrases. We played a mini-performance. It lasted not more long than two minutes. The same animated cartoon as on the TV but she could touch all the heroes and change the plot. Stasya fell in love with this idea. Sketches of her own were very ridiculous.

* After cancellation of gadgets our daughter has shown huge interest to the musical fairy tales. Stasya with pleasure listened to "The Bremen musicians", "The cat's house", Suteev and Chukovsky's fairy tales. Daughter learned by heart the musical opera "Moydodyr". All these fairy tales are in the Internet.

* Stasya again fell in love with drawing and molding. We used pieces of chalk, paints, felt-tip pens and pencils.

The molding is one more alternative to animated cartoons and the tablet. Everybody are able to mold the Pig Peppa. We molded Arkady Parovozov. Materials were different: plasticine, dough and kinetic sand.

Soon the cartoon heroes were charged with new images and characters. When Stasya was one and a half years old she could think up the character itself. She told me where to draw eyes, a nose, chose for color …

* Later we bought a slide projector – full replacement for animated cartoons. In the same place we bought cartridges with fairy tales. Darkness, bright beautiful pictures are shown directly on a wall in the nursery. Stasya was delighted. Watching filmstrips became our family's hobby.

* At last, the excellent alternative to animated cartoons and gadgets is a walk. We went to the park, sat down on a small bench and watched everything what happens around. For example, there was a grandmother with the dog. And we started dreaming: "And what is the name of the doggie? It was interesting where this dog went from …" We thought up stories about any trifle. We learned to notice trifles. Any cone or a leaf become a reason for the fascinating fairy tale.

Sometimes surprising things come across to us. For example, one day we founded a cockleshell in the downtown. It was very interesting how it appeared there, wasn't it? I thought that's going to be very interesting task.

Of course, it is not the complete list. It is possible to think up so much different things, there would be a desire. All of our ideas are very simple and cheap.

What was the most difficult in our experiment? First of all, to change ourselves. The daughter wasn't dependent on gadgets. It was much more difficult to get rid of gadgets for me and my husband. Also it was difficult to make the decision, to refuse of using the TV and phone.

In practice everything was much simpler. It was so interesting for us to spend time with our little daughter. As though we became children again. With smartphones it was more difficult. We don't watch TV any more. We limited ourselves of using this things. We just answer the calls and messages. We excluded aimless using of the Internet in the presence of the child. And now our efforts paid off.

Here the list what we have after 9 months without gadgets. Stasya is 2 years old now:

1. The daughter talks perfectly. Now she uses difficult phrases. She can sing couple of couplets of a song, tell a rhyme or the simple fairy tale. We consider that reading, "puppet theater" and also our walking stories gave its effect.

2. Stasya shows huge interest to everything new. It isn't necessary to force her to be engaged. The daughter herself learns letters, figures and notes, slowly masters English words with pleasure .

3. The imagination perfectly develops. She chooses heroes, thinks up a plot, tells story herself.

4. Stasya became independent. It doesn't need to be controlled constantly any more. And it's appeared rather free time for affairs and for the rest for my husband and me. We had free minutes when Stasya allowed to use gadgets.

5. Now the daughter reacts very quietly to the TV and the tablet. She is interested in them. But she doesn't cry if to switch off TV and take the tablet away.

6. At last, the daughter become cheerful and positive. Whims and tears are very rarely.

Stasya develops well. Moreover, she is already passed into the senior group in our Montessori-center. She is in a group of 2,5 years old children and she is not give anything.

It is difficult to define how refusing of gadgets effects on it. We are grateful to this decision. We got rid of parental laziness. We learned not to choose the easiest way. We received pleasure from communication with the child. This decision did good not only for Stasya, but also for ourselves. My husband and I became more attentive, inventive and responsible.

We don't know what will happen with daughter's relations with the digital world in future. Sometimes the child wants to turn on TV and to play computer games. But when time is coming, our daughter make a choice independently, remembering that there is a lot of other remarkable occupations around her.

And finally our council to parents who want to save children from early digital influence: try! Don't doubt, simply switch off the TV and hide far away the tablet. It's never too late to make this decision . Realize that it can to be not as simple, as in our case. But that bright, colorful and ALIVE world which you will open for the child, precisely costs all efforts.