I didn’t teach Oliver the alphabet or numbers. Neither did Chris. YouTube did.
Years ago, when I was a server at Chili’s, I’d see the parents bring in their kids and give them a tablet to watch while they ate dinner. “I’ll never do that when I’m a parent,” I said. HA! My iPhone and iPad are a Godsend! From a very early age Ollie was interested in my phone. It’s probably because I was always on it 😉 We’d always take selfies and he liked to chew on it. I can’t recall when I actually handed over my phone to him, but at some point I did to keep him occupied. He would be able to unlock it (he knows the number combination), and navigate to the YouTube Kids app. Even on other people’s phones, he knows how to find it. Someone, I don’t remember who, has it under a folder on their phone and he still found it!
He finds the oddest things to watch on there, but they’re (mostly) educational. “Daddy finger, daddy finger where are you?” If you let your kid watch YouTube, you probably know what I’m talking about. He has also known his colors, alphabet, shapes, and colors for quite a while now–and this is before he started school!
Now he’s really into watching video walkthroughs of rides at theme parks. He’s watched a video of someone walking through the line and getting on the ride of Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventures a bazillion times. When we took him there last month and he realized that we were going on the ride, he was so excited, he was doing his hand flapping and jumping.
He also loves to watch videos of other kids playing with toys. When he was younger and being tested for autism, some of the notes stated that Oliver didn’t know how to “play pretend.” For example, he wouldn’t play with a fake kitchen set and pretend to cook food or eat anything. Now, however, he sees other kids play with toys and he’ll mimic them! I’ve bought him a couple of toys specifically that I’ve seen him watch online, just so he can develop his skills. School is helping with this as well, but it has for sure started with YouTube.
Yes, I’ll give him my phone to quiet him down when we’re out at a restaurant or he’s being a brat at home, just to quiet him up. I’m not Super Mom, and he doesn’t always listen to me. I’m trying not to reward his bad behavior by giving him the phone to “shut him up” but sometimes it’s rough and I don’t want to deal with a tantrum. I think we’ve all been there, right?
I’d like to go back in time and smack my younger self. How dare I judge those parents I saw! I love YouTube Kids!!!