Today’s modern parent happily hands over their phone or tablet to their little one, but not without the guilt and wonder — “Is it okay?”

With the right balance of creative and educational play and some limits on screen time, it is perfectly ok to let your preschooler play with your phone or tablet. In fact, balanced screen time has several benefits, including setting them up with a lifetime of good digital habits. Here are three more reasons why you can feel good about letting your preschooler spend some quality time with your tablet.

1. Today’s sandbox is digital

Play is a crucial to a child’s development, happiness, and learning, however, play today is very different from even a decade ago. While physical play is extremely important, digital play adds another dimension and can also be a great way to stretch the mind and even body.  Just like a real sandbox, kids can collaborate with others to explore, to learn, and to have fun! Parents can and should get involved too. Just like you would ask them about their masterpiece in real sand, it’s important to spend time to marvel at what they “build” on their tablet too.

2. Digital play leads to concrete learning

Many digital games and apps for preschoolers are often chalk-full of learning benefits – far and above conventional ABCs and 123s.  Many digital experiences reinforce key concepts, enhance memory, inspire logic thinking, and even encourage “try again” mentality. Just like with traditional dolls or figurines, apps can help children build storytelling skills, build empathy through interactions with characters and exercise creativity.  And, there’s no surprise that pinching and swiping can help develop your child’s fine motor skills.

3. Grow tomorrow’s digital citizen

There is nary a time that we are untethered. Introducing children early to technology is an exceptional opportunity to teach them both balanced screen time habits and cement good digital behavior. Understanding online safety, social norms and the right balance of screen time and physical play are essential to establish as soon as you hand over the tablet or phone, and to revisit often as your child grows.

For today’s family, technology is ever-present. And, access to technology early on offers children the opportunity to learn, play and form “good for you” digital habits alongside mom and dad. Kids shouldn’t be connected all the time, but the benefits of balanced screen time and digital devices set the stage for learning, playing and communicating in today’s modern world.

Featured Photo Courtesy: Dr. Panda