Just a few weeks in, I don’t have to supervise or intervene often while Anneliese is playing her “letter games” on Starfall.com. But it took some work to get there, and I learned a few things about teaching computers to toddlers. Here are some tips:
- I started with Annie standing at the coffee table, and that worked really well.
- Emphasize a good grip on the mouse. We used the mantra, “Hold it like a butterfly,” and she would let her hand flutter down on the mouse. Especially when things get frustrating, it’s important to take a break and release the inevitable iron grip on the mouse.
- Speaking of grip, make sure that the mouse stays pointed at the screen. We didn’t stress this, and Anneliese developed the remarkable (but ultimately confusing) ability to use a mouse pointed almost 90 degrees off-axis to the screen. Eventually it worked against her, and it was a tough habit to break.
- Take lots of breaks.
- Limit the computer time to just a few minutes per day. A little bit goes a loooong way.
- Above all, be patient. If they don’t get it, don’t like it, whatever, don’t force it. It’ll happen, faster than you think.