iPad for Toddlers

It may come as a surprise to many of my readers, particularly those who know that we don't even have 'normal telly' in this house (we do sometimes watch things on catch-up via the internet though), but I have bought an iPad for BB and I to use.

It has been something I have thought about for a while. We'd like to be able to skype DD, and friends and family far away.  After the cup of tea in the laptop incident I am just not prepared to use my computer (my livelihood!) for this. Plus BB is so fascinated with it he would just bang the keys constantly and not concentrate on the people we are talking to. He does manage it quite well using DD's iPad though.

He is also able to interact with technology. He can now unlock my phone, which is a little scary. I started to realise a couple of months ago that he would be able to 'use' an iPad and 'make things happen' already. I've considered wether this might be a good or bad thing. Obviously there are advantages and disadvantages. I am wary of too much 'screen time' and the need to encourage physical activity in children. I am also aware that future that is dependent on technology is inevitable. Plus I have seen some interesting apps when I have observed other kids. It is a tool for learning. Right?

Part of my own rehabilitation recently after burning the candle at both ends and making myself sick in the process, was to be able to turn off my lap top and phone at night and not be available to clients 24/7. If an email came through to my phone when I was in bed, I couldn't help but read it. I usually responded, sometimes I even got up to look at files or process documents. I realised this had to change.
I also wanted to be able to relax with a podcast or TV show at night and a friend suggested listening to podcasts in bed. All good ideas, but my phone really needs to stay down stairs at night and give me a break. So in the end I splashed out on an iPad for us both.

It is working nicely for us so far. I have set up a whole new Apple ID, so BB can't accidentally text a client or delete anything, and no one can contact me after I decided to stop work for the day. We don't use it every day, but we did have a lovely skype with DD, which made it worthwhile buying already. My most ridiculous use of it was to watch an episode of a TV show in the bath! This was a huge a achievement as I don't often have the time to watch TV or to relax in the bath, so it felt incredibly indulgent.

With BB I am keeping usage to about 10 - 15 mins a day maximum (he hasn't used it every day either). He is often really grumpy when he wakes up from his afternoon nap, and using the iPad at this time is working for us brilliantly. We always use it together of course - I am not shoving an iPad in his hand and walking away.  I am not that rich or carefree to start with, but I also believe he needs help to get the most out of it at this stage.

When I started to look for iPad apps suitable for toddlers I was expecting to find a lot more online about this topic than I did. There are lots of apps, and surely its a bit of a controversial issue. There is not much out there though- so I thought I would start creating some reviews myself. I will post them on here. I am guessing we will mostly be downloading FREE apps. but we may splash out occasionally! We have a few already, and I am starting to think about the format of the reviews - they will start soon (you'll be able to find them on the home page and filed under the tab above)

So, hit me with it! What do you think about toddlers using iPads? Do you use an iPad with your toddler? Please share your thoughts and experiences using the comment section below.

Hello, and thanks for stopping by. My name is Emma and I am a lifestyle entrepreneur, writer, teacher, coach and mentor. I am passionate about eating real food, learning, travel and health. I get to spend my days with my amazing son who has chosen to learn from the world rather than at school. We write to share the life we love and to help others create a life they love too.


  1. My sister has an IPad and J uses it with no problem. He's used the apps on my phone plenty of times so I guess it was no problem for him there. I plan to get myself one. With all the kid apps out there and learning programs to check out, it would be a waste not to use it for him too. Can't pass up a good learning tool!

  2. When I got my 1st iPhone last year, I gave Elena my iTouch...at 1st it was just a toy but now she is quite adept at making it work & tapping around to find what she wants. Don't judge but it's a life saver when we go out to eat. She doesn't need it every time but it is a great thing to pull out if needed. It's also great for when my mom needs to take her to appointments & she needs to wait quietly at a dr office, etc.

    I have loaded it with some of her favourite cartoons (Dora, Oso, Backyadigans to name a few) plus photos & videos of herself (she loves watching videos of herself! Vain, much, lol!) Plus a couple of apps from Fisher Price that she is able to navigate.

    I have adjusted the settings up the wazzu to keep her from being able to download or delete accidentally. I don't allow her to have it everyday so the novelty won't wear off, it's a treat.

    I look forward to your reviews of toddler apps! We could use some new ones!

  3. Elsie uses my iPhone DAILY! We have a 20-30 minute commute to and from day care each day on a crowded city bus. Once as we get on and get seated, I turn on an episode of Sesame Street and she is absorbed. I have tried a couple games but I don't think they are very fun for her on the small iPhone screen.

  4. I love incorporating ipad apps into my toddler's learning curriculum at home. I've found a few apps that have really helped him learn the alphabet and pronounce words better. My favorite app for him is Articulation Station. It helps toddlers pronounce words using photo flash cards and you can actually record your toddler saying the words and track his/her progress. Here is a list of my top toddler apps!


    I also posted about this topic

  5. I have no problem with toddlers using screen devices, not one bit. Once again, if I'm happier fiddling with my phone while sitting still in traffic, waiting on line at the post office, or on an airplane, why should I expect my toddler to be content staring into space quietly? I have every intention of introducing B to my kindle fire or an iPod touch or something as soon as he's able to understand it. Maybe for our trip to Florida this summer...?

  6. It IS a learning tool. And a literacy aid. Believe me, one day he will be reading on an electronic device, and the fun he has now will be a part of his feelings toward the medium. Sounds like you've got a good balance of tech and "reality" going. I trust you to make good judgments about all the apps there are out there....

  7. Absolutely fine in my opinion. The vast majority of child activity apps and games are educational in some manner and are certainly leagues better than sitting and passively consuming the telly (we don't have "TV" in our house either). My daughter (2.5 years) loves to use drawing apps on the tablet and her leappad2 as well as toddler-esque letter and number games.

  8. it's all good as far as I am concerned. It's not as thou all he will be doing everyday is playing on the Ipad. Although suggest you set up the parental controls so it makes it easier when you pass it back and forth between you (http://www.gottabemobile.com/2012/03/26/how-to-set-up-ipad-parental-controls-and-content-filtering/)