Screen Time

The American Academy of Pediatrics (2016) states too much media use can reduce the time children have to play, study, talk or sleep.
Here are the AAP recommendations for screen time:
  • Avoid screen time for children under 18 months other than video-chatting.
  • If parents of children 18-24 months want to introduce digital media, they should choose high-quality programs and watch it with their children to help them understand the program.
  • For children 2-5 years, screen time should be no more than 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should spend time watching the programs with their children to help them understand what is going on.
child on phone
Here are some resources for reducing screen time in your child care centers:
  • The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services has developed a Screen-Time Reduction Toolkit for Child Care Providers which has information, tips, resources, fact sheets, and success stories.
  • This is another screen-time guide which has information as well as a screen time log guide and an idea to have children draw pictures of what they did when they weren't engaging in screen time.
  • Here is a link to Sesame Street's Get Healthy Now Show which encourages children to be healthy.
  • Penn State University’s Better Kid Care Online Training and the CDC have partnered to offer training with CEUs. In the training Childhood Obesity Prevention: Limit Screen Time, child care providers will learn best practices and gain an understanding of why it is important to limit screen time for young children.
  • The Better Kid Care program has information on toolkits, curricula, tips, videos, trainings, among other resources.

These are some resources for enacting policies to reduce screen-time in your child-care center:

family

Below are some ways you can encourage parents to reduce screen time at home:

  • Encourage parents to try to eat with their children at least once per day, or as often as possible.  If they need ideas for conversation starters, they can click here: The Family Dinner Project.
  • Show parents this Screen Time Family Letter so they can start to think about the effects of screen time.
  • Provide parents with current screen time recommendations for toddlers and preschool children. Note that screen time includes computers and hand-held electronic equipment, not just television. Check out this Parent Letter from the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies.
  • Post information about screen time on the class bulletin board or Facebook page. Use this opportunity to explain the influence that advertising can have on children. Another posting could provide an overview of what television ratings mean and the influence that violence in TV programs can have on children. KidsHealth has a useful article about How TV Affects Children. Use postings to encourage parents to reduce screen time at home and offer strategies for how to limit screen time. Need ideas? Check out this article on Healthy Habits for TV, Video Games, and the Internet from KidsHealth.

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