Like any good mom I wish I had a million hours a day (and the patience) to read, play and teach my toddler all day long. Unfortunately, in this fast-paced day and age these moments are few and far between. Before work I need to get ready, after work we have errands to run and so on and so forth. Sometimes I just need to be able to drive the car without him being frustrated at having nothing to do. I could just get him one of those portable DVD players and glue him to that everywhere we go, but like all of us parents know, children shouldn’t watch more than an hour of TV on average everyday… according to our pediatrician and I try to set that limit even lower. However, I am only a human being and every time he cries or wants to run around in Target and it’s just us alone I can’t give in and play with him until he is satiated. If I did that, we would never make it home in time to cook dinner, eat, take a bath, read bed time stories AND be in bed by 9PM. A year ago when I got my iPhone my son, being the Curious George that he is, wanted to see what mommy does on it. At first we showed him some of the games I played, but then I had the brilliant idea to search for kids games and I found a whole bunch! Many of them were a disappointment, a waste of time and money. I don’t need a video-game addicted 3 year old. But a very few were fun and educational for him. What does a mom want for her toddler to play with on her iPhone? For starters, nothing violent. I know that should be common sense, but that’s not so common these days. The colors have to be bright and attractive. The characters have to vary. The music should be fun and familiar (my son loves his “5 Little Monkeys” game and the “Wheels on the Bus”). Don’t be cheap and use a man’s monotone voice to help him learn to count numbers, as one application so pathetically did. Please make it a little bit more interesting than just opening the doors of a barn to find a new animal inside (no, offense PeekaBoo Barn, my son loves you, but I think you’re a waste of time). Teach them about letters, numbers and spelling! Allow them to draw or play the keys on a keyboard or another instrument. Teach them fun fact about the things little kids are already interested in: fire trucks, animals, etc. And reward them when they solve puzzles correctly. My son loves it when he completes a puzzle and the game tells him “Awesome” or, as one game brilliantly did, rewards him with stickers that he can paste in a mobile sticker book. Let me tell you, as addicted as I am to my iPhone (and I can barely put it down), more than 60% of my applications are tailored towards educating and entertaining my child (of course I limit his use here as well). In addition, we use my iPhone to play soothing bedtime music before he goes to bed. So where do you find iPhone savvy moms like me? I spend most of my online time at Facebook, talking with friends and shareing updates about my son. I get tips from BabyCenter.com, find kid-friendly events and resources at GoCityKids.com and chatting with other moms like me CircleOfMoms.com. When choosing apps for my son, I rely heavily on reccomendations from other moms
Anna is a working single mom. Born in Kiev, Ukraine she immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 4. She speaks Russian fluently and does her very best to make sure that her little boy will do the same. Anna attended UCLA and graduated with a degree in Psychology. She is currently working as a surgery coordinator in San Francisco.
**Editors Note** I myself have children, but one is an 8 month old little girl, and the other is a 7 year old boy. Both play with my iPhone. The baby loves to play wtih "PhonyPhone" from BabyCenter, and my son loves iShoot – which, while it does involve tanks blowing each other up, does not portray any gore or life-like violence.