It’s the day after Hurricane Sandy descended upon the Northeast and the DC area gratefully was spared the worst of the storm. Still, schools and businesses are closed and the wind and rains knocked out power across the region. In anticipation of the outage, we charged up all of our electronics the day before the storm hit.
We’re on Day 2 of No School (following the regular weekend); for our three tech-obsessed kids, this means hours upon hours of free time to attach themselves to laptops, smartphones, tablets, and the Wii. Instead of trying to fight the tech beast, my husband and I have decided to embrace it. Especially given Hubby’s craft as a software engineer, and mom’s work as a blogger, it’s only natural that our kids expect for technology to be a part of their daily lives. And so, we use technology to bridge the gap between home, school, and life. Here’s how:
- Schoolwork. Using sites like K-5 Learning and National Geographic Kids and Starfall, we try to reinforce concepts learned in school during their downtime at home. Of course the smartphone app stores provides a plethora of educational gaming options that are attractive to kids eager to get their hands on flashy gadgets. We’ve been successfully sneaking in learning with Giggles and L’il Buddy on the regular.
- Current Events and Pop Culture. Chatterbox is at the age where she’s interested in and needing to know about happenings locally and around the globe. Also, she’s super interested in pop culture and music. Surfing sites like KidsPost and YouTube (I know) have been great conversations starters and keeps us connected to what she’s into. In case you’re interested, Mr. and Mrs. Fresh is what’s hot among the 8-year-old set right now (you’re welcome).
- Communication Tools. Lately, Skype has been King in our house. The kids have been Skyping with their cousins and grandparents daily. It’s a great way for them to keep in touch with family far away, and to keep the ties strong with their cousins in Atlanta and Miami, whom they miss dearly. It also ends up teaching them how to navigate technology and it sparks discussions about sharing and privacy. By the same token, Chatterbox setup her own Tumblr site over the summer (it’s password-protected). She likes having her own space on the Web (don’t we all?) to share her likes and passions – right now we’re into sea coral and sneakers.
In this day and age, incorporating technology is critical to life success. It also helps that this new generation has a natural talent for swiping, downloading, clicking and ‘webcamming.’ Using tech as a tool to encourage education, communication and discussion has proven successful so far…If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!