At first, it's adorable: Your toddler grabs your cell phone, puts it to his ear and says, "Hel-wo," followed by an animated conversation in baby talk. But then your phone book gets deleted, and you realize that the cell phone must go bye-bye. "Toddlers think, 'Mommy is so into this thing, it must be lots of fun,'" says Glass. Before your cell phone ends up in the bath, here's how to dial back your baby's technology fascination:
Limit your own use. Unless it's an emergency, keep your cell phone or BlackBerry out of sight when you're not working; most problems can wait until your child's in bed or you're back in the office.
Be consistent. Letting your toddler play with your cell phone at the grocery store to prevent a candy aisle meltdown, but not at home, will only confuse and frustrate him, says Glass. Instead, make it off-limits at all times. Explain that your phone is not a toy and offer him something else to play with. If you are unwavering in your position, he will eventually learn to go along with this rule.
Engage your toddler in stimulating real-life activities. "Toddlers love to imitate their parents," says Schwartz. Give him pots and pans for "cooking" (and drum playing) or ask him to help you do the laundry with his own pile of hand towels to sort or water the plants together with his own mini watering can.