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Computer games: when and what can my child start playing?

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Computers are a growing part of all of our lives, including your preschooler’s, and there is plenty of software on the market designed for this age group. However, there are a few guidelines you may want to bear in mind when deciding when to let your child start playing computer games (even educational ones) and which ones to choose.
Experts agree that playing with tangible, real items, instead of software or games, is probably better, developmentally, for your child, however, they also say that most children will be ready for computer games sometime between the ages of two and a half and three.
As far as helping your child’s developmental progress, the jury is out on computer software. Some experts do agree that the point and click of a mouse can help develop fine motor skills, and even that some software can help your child learn new skills, but all agree that computer software alone is not an enormous aid to development, and that your child needs normal play too.
When you do buy games, look for those that have been designed to be fun and educational. Remember that preschoolers learn the most about the world when they’re playing, and computer games are no different. Read reviews on the games you’re considering, and try to find software that still allows your child to interact – either with you, or with a friend who can play along with them.
If you find games with characters that are familiar, you still need to check out the software – the characters could have been licensed, and they’re no guarantee that the game itself is good.
Lastly, see if you can try the program in store, to see what it’s like, find out if the shop you buy it from offers refunds or credits, in case it doesn’t work on your machine, and lastly, look for packages designed specifically for your child’s age group.
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