2008 06/12

How young is too young?

I was sitting down and writing out my Christmas shopping list the other day and I had to pause when it came to my girls. Zoe is still young enough that I could toss her one of the toys from the toy box and she’d be happy. Seriously. We have so many toys already, she really doesn’t need anymore. And clothes? Hello, her closet is already full and I have boxes and boxes of clothes waiting for her as she moves up in size (thank you Hiltons!).

Then there is Abbi. She is super excited about Christmas but she is still young enough yet that she really doesn’t care if she gets tons of gifts or just one little thing. I know it will all change in the years to come so I’m cherishing this year! However, even though Abbi really isn’t writing out a mile long wish list, I’m writing one for her. I have so many things I would love to get her. And the list continues to grow daily!

On the top of my her list is a computer. She is a wiz on the computer! She loves playing online games (bless you Disney.com, NickJR.com, and PBSKids.com) and she is so good at it. She knows where to click to find the games. She knows where to click to find pictures to print (thank you daddy for setting the printer up on her account….you owe me some new ink cartridges). She knows to wait until the page loads and she knows to come ask for help if she accidentally clicks on an ad or gets lost on a page.

The pros of this all — it is a great activity to keep her quiet while Zoe is napping and I’m in the shower or on the phone. It’s free. She loves it!

The cons — she is monopolizing my computer! Seriously. It’s a great activity for her to do by herself (with me supervising from a distant) but when she’s occupied with it I want to get some work done as well. She has her own account on my computer so I’m not worried about her messing things up but when she’s on my computer I can’t be. Do you see where I’m going with this? I want my computer back!

So we looked into getting Abbi her own little computer for Christmas. We looked at these little Linux based notebooks we saw at Target and we looked at some old Apple clamshells on eBay. There are lots of good options and we may seriously consider it when we have the money but then I struggle with the question — Is she too young to have her own computer? Are we starting something that will only grow into a bigger thing later on? She’s only three.

I’m not worried about her becoming a couch potato if she does get a computer because that is the last thing Abbi could ever become. The girl as energy. And she loves her active and imaginary play. We do our fair share of baking pretend cakes and pretending to rescue her animals that are in trouble or, more recently, rescuing Zoe from getting into trouble. I’m just worried that the computer may be too much responsibility for her. What do you think?

Is there a certain age where gifts like video games, computers and cell phones become appropriate? How young is too young?

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