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.

More questions

Read about our favourite PopCap games
Computer games can be educational – but they’re meant to supplement play, not replace it. Consider these guidelines before buying any for your preschooler.
Bored back seat passengers can definitely derail a road trip.
By the time your baby is three to six months old, they’re ready for more interactive developmental games.
Babies of nine months to one year old are on the brink of toddler hood. Play games with your toddler to be to encourage development.
Six to nine month olds are on the brink of learning to cruise or walk, and they’re likely to be very mobile, and gaining dexterity. There are plenty of games that encourage those skills.
Pretend play is your child’s way of exploring new ideas and roles. Make it a little easier by offering your child a variety of props, clothes and toys.
Computer games are not necessary for development at this age, but they need not be a problem either – if you follow a few tips.
Toddlers love obstacle courses and you can create this one with a few cardboard boxes and some imagination.
Fun and games is a great way for your toddler to learn about nature and science