You asked

Is a three year old ready to be playing games or using the computer?

It’s becoming more and more popular for children as young as three to spend time in front of the computer, either playing games or on child friendly websites. However, while there’s no evidence that this is harmful to your child, experts do agree that this kind of educational play should not be replacing more active, normal childhood play as we know it.

There are plenty of great software packages out there that use pictures and sounds to interact with your three year old, and if you’re prepared to sit with your child, and spend some time playing those types of games, then they can be fun for both of you.
However, it’s been proven that children learn best by actually interacting with the world, and with people, so it’s best to limit that time.

If your child shows no interest in the computer at all, that’s also okay – you may find that he or she develops an interest on their own later, but in the mean time, active play, and exploring the world, is more than enough to ensure that development is on track.

If you are going to let your child play games or visit websites, limit the time to an hour, and make sure you are with your child while you play or surf the internet. That way, you can combine their ‘screen time’ with questions and conversations, and boost the educational factor. Set a timer, but don’t try to force your child to stay if he or she gets fidgety or unhappy. Rather save the computer for another day, and let them play the old fashioned way.

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