Screen Free Moments: Promoting Healthy Habits

Uploaded by NRCKids on 02.10.2012

People everywhere are talking about the obesity problem in the united states
its impact on children
and the lifelong affects obesity can have on health
researchers tell us
eating nutritious food
engaging in frequent
age-appropriate physical activity
and limiting screen time
are important
for maintaining a healthy weight
as a teacher and caregiver in a family child care home
you play an important role
in helping children develop positive habits
that prevent childhood obesity
or restricting screen time can help prevent
childhood obesity
screen time includes
watching tv
videotapes or dvds
playing video
smartphone or computer games
surfing the internet
caring for young children is hard work
it's tempting to use screen time
to keep children occupied during challenging times
such as activity transitions
diaper changes
and meal preparation
here are a few easy alternatives to help limit
or eliminate use the screen time with the children you serve
many of these ideas came from interviews with family child care providers
while others where shared
by early childhood experts
did you know at preschool children are often exposed to more than three hours
of screen time everyday
this is far too much
according to the experts preschool aged children should not have more than a
total of one to two hours of screen time a day
and children under the age of two
should not have
any screen time at all
since children typically get too much screen time at home already
it's even more important
that they are not exposed to very much screen time
while they are in your care
a national standard for screen time used in early caring education programs
including your family child care home
is no screen time for children under the age of two
and for children two years and older
screen time should be limited
to no more than thirty minutes
once per week
in addition it is recommended that any screen time used
should only be
for education or physical activity
helping children maintain a healthy weight is not the only benefit to
limiting screen time
screen time can take away from activities like talking
singing and reading
these activities helping encourage brain development
development of social skills
and imagination
a simple, successful way to limit screen time
is to either remove the screen time equipment from the children's
or keep it out of sight
by covering with a cloth
this reduces the children's expectation for screen time
and helps them focus on developing relationships
and social skills
while they learn
some providers reported
that just turning the tv off
even when it was only being used as background noise
has helped some children be more calm
and focused while in care
another way to avoid screen time
is to have a planed set of special activities for children to do
during challenging times
when it is tempting to rely on screen time
such as preparing meals
watch Ann
as she prepares lunch or snack
instead of having the children watch tv
she has provided a limited number of activities that the children don't
normally do
they are able to keep busy while she prepares lunch
in Maria's home
children interact with each other
in educational activities
while lunch is being prepared
Maria interacts with the children in a manner
that still allows her to focus
on preparing their meals
another challenge in family child care home
is diaper changing and toileting time
planning activities in advance for each child
is one successful strategy
the child or children engaged in an activity
while the provider performs a task
such as changing that diaper
or pull up
notice that Lucy is talking and paying special attention to the baby being
but she is also talking to the other children as she changes the baby's
we learned that some providers may use screen time instead of going outside in
extreme weather conditions
this not only decreases the amount of physical activity for the children
but increases screen time viewing and exposure to advertising of unhealthy
or drink products
the providers we interviewed suggested some ideas for alternatives to using
screen time
during extreme weather
these included
using active
indoor materials such as softballs or a bouncy ball
having dance parties
and taking imaginary journeys to different places
like the forest
or ocean
it's important to let the parents know of your efforts to reduce or limit
screen time
one provider told us that parents love it
she said
they think i've done them a favor
they are very supportive
and even offer to help supply materials for activities
you are such an important influence in the lives of your children and their
we trust you can creatively meet the challenge to reduce
or even eliminate screen time in your family child care home
starting small is okay
as you work towards your goals
to have less and less
screen time in your day
before you know it
you are on your way to helping the children in your care
develop lifelong
healthy habits
and achieve a healthy weight
now that you have seen some specific ideas on how to limit screen time
give them a try
planning your day in advance especially the extra activities
is a critical part
the being successful
what other ideas do you have
are you ready
to try to reduce screen time
for the children in your care?