* Disclaimer: I received a free subscription from Kidloland in return for an honest review of the product.
Screen time can be a contentious issue with parents, teachers and researchers and, as technology continues to evolve and change at a rapid pace, it can sometimes be overwhelming as a parent. A recent study from the Canadian Paediatric Society (2017) recommends that children under the age of two have no screen time at all, and to limit screen time to less than one hour per day for older children. In a society where technology is constantly permeating into our daily lives, it seems increasingly difficult to limit screen time according to these parameters. While my goal was to keep Henry away from any screen until he was two, it was almost impossible to make this a reality.
With an older sibling who watches some TV and uses a tablet or a computer for homework, Henry started showing interest in technology around 18 months. While I would prefer my children to engage in outdoor play, to be active and to socialize, I also recognize strong technological skills are valuable in our modern world and, as parents, we have to help them develop these skills. My overall approach is that screen time is okay in moderation and we try to make time on the tablet a treat for Henry, rather than a daily expectation. With that being said, some days are more challenging than others to find that perfect balance!
When Kidloland offered me a free subscription for Henry to try their app, I was honestly a little hesitant to accept the offer as I felt it would encourage more screen time. With some research, I decided to give it a try after learning it is an award-winning app designed specifically for children under the age of 5, and is filled with educational and interactive activities designed to develop their imagination and creativity, while stimulating foundational learning skills.
Henry has really been enjoying the app and, with over 1000 activities available with the subscription, and new content added monthly, there is always something new and exciting for him to try. If you’ve been following along with my family, you will know Henry is our little music man, so he has really been enjoying all of the songs, lullabies and fun music that comes along with the activities.
Rather than passively watching videos on YouTube or watching TV, I really like that everything in the app is interactive, allowing (and encouraging) Henry to participate and learn about what he is naturally drawn to. The home screen is colourful and captivating, and was easy for him to navigate once I demonstrated it to him. From here, categories of activities are available including nursery rhymes, stories, songs, and educational games and activities, among others.
Each activity is downloaded to your tablet, so they can be accessed offline, which is great for travelling with young children. If there is ever a time I am very okay with screen time, it’s when we have a long road trip or flight - it just makes things so much easier! I will note, however, that the disadvantage of requiring downloads is that it can take up quite a bit of space on your tablet. We have a tablet designated specifically for the kids, so it hasn’t been much of a problem for us at this point.
I also enjoy the peace of mind that everything in the app is appropriate for Henry’s age – I can escape to the bathroom to get ready for work and know that he won’t come across inappropriate content. There are also no in-app purchases or advertisements which also makes me feel more confident that Henry can safely engage with this app with minimal supervision.
Henry was just over two years old when he started using the app and while he really enjoyed the music and nursery rhymes, he did have some difficulty with some of the activities. Once he opened them, he didn’t really understand that he needed to move elements across the screen to complete the activity and he would sometimes get frustrated and require help from us or from his older sibling. If there were more verbal instructions or cues integrated into the activities, I think he would have been able to pick it up faster. While there are many elements for young toddlers to enjoy and learn from, I think Henry will gain more from the app as he gets older and can more easily interact with all of the activities.
Overall, I am very pleased with the Kidloland app and I love that Henry is actively learning, rather than passively absorbing information from the internet or TV that may or may not be educational. Determining how much and what kind of screen time is right for your child can be difficult, but ensuring moderation and quality screen time through the use of educational apps such as Kidloland is a great place to start!
If you’re interested in trying Kidloland for yourself, you can download the app at the following links: