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10 Tips To Buying Children's Software 

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10 Tips To Buying Children's Software

Cathy Miranker and Alison Elliott, authors of The Computer Museum Guide to the Best Software for Kids, offer these 10 tips for buying children's software. 

Before you go shopping:

  • Know the exact capabilities of your computer system. Write down the details so you can compare them to specifications on software packages. 
  • Research software titles that match your child's interests, age, school needs and learning style. Use an independent resource likeThe Computer Museum Guide to the Best Software for Kids to get the kind of information you need to meet the needs of your individual kids. 
  • Select titles before you go shopping. Don't expect help at the store. Sales people know what software sells but they don't evaluate titles for educational quality or effectiveness. 

At the store:

  • Buy two titles at a time, at most. Build your library carefully over time. 
  • Read the fine print on the package. Check your notes to make sure your computer meets the program requirements. 
  • Learn the store's return policy. Choose retailers that will let you return a CD-ROM if it does not live up to expectations held by you or your child.

At home:

  • Familiarize yourself with software before you show it to your children, and be around when they first use it to make sure they figure it out. 
  • Put away some programs for a month, once in a while. Your kids will approach software with a fresh perspective when you re-introduce it. 
  • Join your child at the computer. Your participation as her audience or partner is more important than any program.

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