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Ada Nicodemou isn't ashamed to use an iPad as a parenting tool.

Like most mums, Ada Nicodemou has received stares from strangers in a cafe. The ones who look over the top of their lattes, flicking their eyes between hers and the iPad she’s handed to her little boy.

But the Home and Away star and mother of one isn’t bothered.

While she admits she may have used the device as a crutch in the past (“It’s the only way I could get him to eat,” she laughed), Nicodemou has come to see such technology as a parenting tool.

“Johnas is four years old and he reads,” the 39-year-old told Mamamia. “He knows his alphabet, how to count to 30, so he’s very advanced. And I have to admit, a lot of that has to do with the digital world that we’ve now embraced.”

That means allowing him limited time to interact with a variety of educational videos and games, including Play-Doh Touch Shape To Life Studio, an innovative app that allows children to scan their creations using an iPad or iPhone and bring them to life in the digital world.

ada nicodemou parenting technology
Ada and Johnas. Image: Instagram.

The actress, who has signed on as an ambassador for the product, says it has formed an integral part of fostering her son’s creative and imaginative play - while also allowing him the tech-time he craves.

“It’s all about balance. I feel like early on I got the balance a little bit wrong. It’s hard as a parent - it’s hard not to just do what’s easy,” she said.

"So to be able to now incorporate his learning into his iPad time is fantastic because I don’t feel bad as a parent,” she added, laughing.

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Of course, cyber safety and security is critical, but Nicodemou ensures Johnas never accesses the iPad alone, and uses offline apps wherever possible. And it's been that way ever since he first started thumbing through photos at just 15 months old.

"Look he teaches me stuff,” she said. “He was 15 months old and he turned on the light on my phone. I didn’t even know how to turn it off.”

Jane Martino talks about her app and her rules about screen time for her kids. (Post continues after podcast.)

But that’s not all her little boy has taught her.

As a first-time mum, the actress struggled with self-doubt - fuelled, she says, by the media and a shelf full of parenting books that made her feel like every move she made was in the wrong direction.

But when her persistence lead doctors to finally diagnose 'unsettled' newborn Johnas with silent reflux, Nicodemou learned to be guided by her instinct.

“If only I’d listened to my gut earlier on, the poor kid wouldn’t have been struggling for such a long time,” she said.

“Thankfully [trusting instincts] is something I figured out quite early on, and I’m so glad that I did, because you would just send yourself insane.”

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Now, in place of books, Nicodemou seeks the support and counsel of friends and her mother, whose presence in her life has meant that after six months maternity leave she had the opportunity to return to her beloved job and the role she’s played for 17 years, Leah Patterson-Baker.

On top of that she runs her jewellery line, Always Ada, along with various other side projects.

“Can we have it all? I think we can have anything we want to have. Of course, my life’s not perfect. I struggle. I have moments where I find it really hard to do anything. But I love what I do, and I like juggling a lot of things. It’s just me as a person,” she said.

“But as a Type A personality, a perfectionist, one of the best lessons Johnas has taught me is to let go of having to make everything perfect and to just try my best."

Tags: celebrity , parenting-2 , technology-2
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