How much internet time to be given to a 5 year old kid?


red dragon

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Here’s my situation. We have a 4.5 year old kid who was born and brought up in Kosice (Slovakia), we are in India after a long time and want to spend our entire vacation (5.5 months left) here. My wife is Czech and don’t speak English much as a result our son only speaks Czech and Slovak and couldn’t make any friends at the play school he goes here.
When we are out, he is left with a nanny and watch cartoons etc. in YouTube for hours. Both of us are pretty worried about it and planning to go back. Any solutions? I tried to speak to him in Bengali but it’s too difficult for him. We are really worried, this vacation was planned over last 3 years and my wife really wants to absorb Indian culture and travel the country. It’s breaking her heart too, both of us worked really hard for this vacation.
 
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nRiTeCh

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Here’s my situation. We have a 4.5 year old kid who was born and brought up in Kosice (Slovakia), we are in India after a long time and want to spend our entire vacation (5.5 months left) here. My wife is Czech and don’t speak English much as a result our son only speaks Czech and Slovak and couldn’t make any friends at the play school he goes here.
When we are out, he is left with a nanny and watch cartoons etc. in YouTube for hours. Both of us are pretty worried about it and planning to go back. Any solutions? I tried to speak to him in Bengali but it’s too difficult for him. We are really worried, this vacation was planned over last 3 years and my wife really wants to absorb Indian culture and travel the country. It’s breaking her heart too, both of us worked really hard for this vacation.
Why not indulge your kid in Bengali cartoons or even Hindi to begin with.
When you both are out and he is left only with nanny with zero friends, its obvious he will hook to tv or gadgets so for his situation it is ideal if he spends worthy time on apps and net like Byjus etc. where he will learn with fun and his time is well spent in the digital world.
You haven't described if you stay in an apartment or bungalow so depending on that, nanny can help him stroll around the gardens and make learn nature stuffs, birds, insects, plants, flowers etc etc.

If he had friends I would have said to restrict him to max 2 hrs on digital platform that too in your vicinity.
 
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red dragon

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A small 3 bedroom apartment, that's the problem
He is used to a lot of greeneries in Kosice.
He doesn't understand Hindi/ Bengali cartoons, we are trying.
 

vyral_143

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Does he like any sports? May be it is a starting point to break the ice with similar aged kids. Byju's suggested above is good option to atleast turn his screen time productive; but I fear language will be a barrier here too. For Bengali and English, may be start teaching him from scratch like alphabets and then some words ?
 

red dragon

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Yes, I am trying to teach him small and easy words and sentences in Bengali and English. Kids do learn pretty fast, I had struggled pretty hard with Czech, my wife doesn’t speak English , kiddo is doing a lot better than I did :D
Yes, he loves sports, football mainly.
 

red dragon

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Nah! Unfortunately it's cricket! My son thought it to be some sort of hockey!! Almost every kid in Slovakia plays football and ice hockey at schools.
 

vyral_143

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Nah! Unfortunately it's cricket! My son thought it to be some sort of hockey!! Almost every kid in Slovakia plays football and ice hockey at schools.
Ohh, I thought in Kolkata (no offence meant but I assumed you being from there) football is more prominent.
 

red dragon

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Yes, I am from Kolkata and it used be a football crazed city, but not anymore. Sadly most of the small grounds inside the city are gone.
Slovakia is also a football crazy nation.
 

Futureized

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Youtube for kids is best to place to start.. rather then normal Youtube.. No worries for any kind of hateful content.

You may ask nanny to take the kid out to some closed park for hour or two in nearest park.. with slides/swings etc. those age kids love that fun and will keep themselves engaged till exhausted.
 

red dragon

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Is it the same thing as YouTube kids available in AppStore? If so, yes.
There’s a park nearby with slides etc. He used to go there in the afternoon, but one day came back crying and telling no one is talking/ listening to him:confused:
Little guy is really confused. He hasn’t seen so many people before. We live in a very quiet part of a very small city/ town compared to large Indian cities.
 

blr_p

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Yes, I am from Kolkata and it used be a football crazed city, but not anymore. Sadly most of the small grounds inside the city are gone.
Slovakia is also a football crazy nation.
The beauty of football is it does not need any ground or special equipment.

All you need is a ball, some space and interested people.

i'm surprised to hear what you said because Maradona was there some time back and they unveiled this big statue of him. Think where Argentina is on the map and still there is a fan base there. Messi has been there too.

Take him to some local league games. Ask around and maybe you find if there are some little leagues.
 

Digigear

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If you're expecting him to learn and immerse himself in a foreign culture in a matter of months, then I think you're being unrealistic. Please give him time and a lot of exposure to kids his age. Don't try to force learning the language. That's not how kids learn. Kids learn simply through natural exposure to the language. I am guessing that you have him in some kind of a special playschool for international kids. If yes, then try shifting to a regular playschool where there are kids his age who are locals and only speak the local language. That imo is the best way for him to both immerse in the culture and also learn the language.

And honestly don't expect it all to happen in months. Think years.
 
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red dragon

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No, no!! We are sending him to a local playschool where he can interact with kids from here.
We just want him to enjoy India as may not return in next 10-15 years.
We are not stressing him on anything.
Actually both me and my wife work for WHO and travel a lot, our next assignment is Africa!
We will probably take the kid with us this time around.
Yes, the language thing is probably stressing him out a bit, he already speaks Czech and French (which he learnt in 6 months!!) I still struggle with Czech at times....it's a blessing in disguise, when my wife gets angry and fights with me (as in every marriage) I don't even understand what she's saying half the times, it drives her more mad, and I kind of enjoy it (she looks even more beautiful while pissed off
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I wanted to know one more thing, is Goa really unsafe for foreigners?
Some of my friends/ colleagues are warning us about it.
We obviously won't be going to rave parties and stuff. Just typical family vacation type trip.
I've never been to southern parts of India myself...where else can we go for 3/4 quiet, laid back days near a beach? We live in a land locked country and Croatia is the only place nearby with beaches.
 
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Digigear

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No, no!! We are sending him to a local playschool where he can interact with kids from here.
We just want him to enjoy India as may not return in next 10-15 years.
We are not stressing him on anything.
Actually both me and my wife work for WHO and travel a lot, our next assignment is Africa!
We will probably take the kid with us this time around.
Yes, the language thing is probably stressing him out a bit, he already speaks Czech and French (which he learnt in 6 months!!) I still struggle with Czech at times....it's a blessing in disguise, when my wife gets angry and fights with me (as in every marriage) I don't even understand what she's saying half the times, it drives her more mad, and I kind of enjoy it (she looks even more beautiful while pissed off
I see. In that case (i.e. if you keep travelling) as a dad and mom, I don't think you should worry as much about him. I've known other kids who are global nomads and they're quite well rounded and mature because of all the cultural exposure they've experienced., My friends who are global nomads (because of similar situation as in your case, travelling parents) say that travelling around the world as they grow up and never settling down kind of makes them difficult to relate to for others who grow up in one culture, because the global nomads don't belong to any one culture, but are rather shaped by all the cultures they're exposed to. But on the positive side they get to witness the commonalities of various cultures and often see things in unique perspectives that others may not have the opportunity to see in their life. It may be lonelier but gives them more maturity.

Let him make the most of his time in India while he's here. Anyways India is the kind of place that you cannot fully absorb until you've reached a certain maturity in your life and yearn for greater wisdom. He may come back then and make the most of it :)

But my tips would be to encourage more exposure to kids his age who speak the local language, preferably in a friendly atmosphere where everyone is polite. At his age he should be able to pick up new languages fairly easily, and mostly through exposure rather than formal instruction. And if he is stressing out on not being able to understand things, then just make sure that he understands that it is ok and there's no pressure on him. All the best! :)
 
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red dragon

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Thanks a lot for your detailed and beautifully written reply. We both could stick to usual doctors’ life, but we consciously took the decision to travel and see as much as possible before the time comes. It was not easy, neither of our parents were happy about it.
We are not rich, but we have set our priorities differently, we don’t try to live life, rather celebrate it everyday and really wish our son don’t misunderstand our views,
 

blr_p

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It's pretty tough being your kid. Did either you or your wife have to cope and adapt to different cultures growing up ?

No, both of you grew up in one place and went out later.

I lived in different countries when i was younger and it was nice and all but compared to being in one place that had what you wanted i think i'd have chosen the latter. Because your basics are taken care of, you master them and you build from there. Hopping around different places means ripping up what you had and restarting. It's hunter gatherer like. Army brats go through this a lot but there is an institution behind them that provides a grounding role.

The former if the places you lived in subsequently end up equaling more than the sum of the parts. If there is some sort of connection from one to the next.

Africa is where India was in the 90s, its going to be the big growth story in another ten years. The people there are awesome. Going by people i knew from there. Totally crazy :D
 
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red dragon

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I grew up in mostly in hostels (school, medical school, post graduation, post doc) in 3 cities, my wife in mostly in 2 cities.
The organisation we work for helps a lot with kid’s schooling etc. Hopefully we won’t be staying in Africa for more than 2 years and we are on vacations here in India. Unlike India; in Europe most kid starts going to proper schools after 5. And we have to get him admitted into some international school.
But your comment is scaring me. Sure he can stay at Kosice/ Prague with his grandparents.
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Is there anyone here married to someone from different country/ race? If yes, are you facing any problem with your toddler?
My son told me a strange thing, that boys avoid him saying he looks different!! In Kosice we have a Jamaican and French couple as our neighbors. Their son is few months older than mine, they are very good friends, and this thing never came up. This is the last thing I want to get into his little brain (differentiate people based on their skin colour!!)
 
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blr_p

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The hardest thing i had to deal with was the loss of friends. Those take time and when you move its restart again. It's harder without siblings. Easier for bigger families with brothers and sisters. On the other hand growing up with grand parents isn't the same as with the real parents. Grand parents will spoil them rotten.

Looking different is a big thing with kids. Nothing to do with race. Anything different gets picked on. The little people are big on compliance it seems.

When i was 4 i decided to give myself a haircut. Parents in shock when they found out later were not the issue. They decided to finish the job so the next day i went to school bald. Everybody laughed at me. That was the issue. But it was only a day or two and forgotten. We got used to it.

The west is more mixed race than India. It is easier to fit into multi-ethnic society. Though looking different in this country isn't unusual. He'll get over it. Others look different to him as well. This is down to how well teachers handle it. Some are better than others. If mixing in school is difficult then you have to be hyper active with finding him play dates. With locals. Make friends with the parents. Have sleep overs etc. Harder to do when both parents are working no doubt.
 
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red dragon

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You are right, it’s hard without brother/ sister. But at this moment we are not prepared mentally. Where we stay, almost every couple got 2 kids or more.