Today we have apps for everything, but an app that calms our babies so we can sleep longer? Surely that’s one app too far.
When did it become ok to delegate parenting to an app?
Don’t get me wrong; along with the next person I needed timeout from my parenting duties when my boys were babies, and don’t shoot me, but sometimes those 45-minute daytime sleeps needed to be supplemented with a little quality time together in front of a baby DVD, that possibly may have been on auto repeat on some days. So I get it, we can’t be ‘on’ as parents every minute of every day.
But we became parents so we could be parents and raise our babies into gorgeous toddlers and then amazing kids – right?
An app has been developed in the UK – Quiet Night Baby IPod, which claims to be able to reduce babies crying by 50% and speed up their development. It’s an app and toy that has a library of kiddy friendly music, which babies hold and listen to, helping to keep them entertained. It has a specially designed Smart handle, enabling the device to determine what songs the baby likes listening to and then selects similar songs for them.
According to the developer Ben Way, babies interact with the toy rather than calling out for their parents, meaning less crying and more sleep for the parents.
With the device likely to go on sale later this year in the UK, no doubt many parents will think of this as a lifesaver. However isn’t it our job (and our pleasure) as parents, to interact with our babies ourselves? We want to calm them and entertain them, we want to sing songs to them and find out for ourselves what tunes they like by watching their reactions. That is the joy of being a parent and those blissful, special times with our babies are how we form bonds with them and get to know their personalities.
Yes, infants and toddlers can wield our iPhones and iPads like little tech experts these days, rightly or wrongly, it’s happens. In fact the ITunes store now stocks over 800 apps for children. But delegating calming of babies at nighttime to an app, so we can sleep longer? Surely that’s heading in the wrong direction as parents.
Educationalist and literacy expert Sue Palmer, author of bestseller “Toxic Childhood” suggests that the sort of interaction babies and toddlers need is interaction with real people and the real-life environment. That’s how they develop communication skills and learn to co-ordinate and control their whole body.
I can remember the only way I could get one of my boys to sleep was rocking him in a baby hammock contraption I’d borrowed from a friend. It started as a complete relief and godsend, but quickly escalated into a dependency for my baby and me. We both needed the hammock for him to sleep. So we ‘cold turkey’ed’ and between my baby, my husband and myself, we learnt how to settle him and get him to sleep. Point being, sometime you just have to do the hard yards as a parent and you can’t delegate the tough stuff.
And yes, we had our sleepless nights, and days of exhaustion but we got there. And we got there without any help from an Apple device.
Being a parent is about the highs and the lows, the incredibly amazing experiences and the tough ones. We signed up for life on this gig. 24/7 for every single, wonderful moment.
Parenting is not about delegating to an app, it’s about doing it ourselves. And if that means a little less sleep at night, then I can sleep a little easier with myself for the rest of the night.