Screen Time V. Lean Time

Posted on December 7, 2018 at 12:59 PM by Jump IN for Healthy Kids

When we introduce people to the 5-2-1-0 concept, a refrain we often hear is, "Oh, wow, only two hours of screen time?  That sounds really hard."  Of the four steps in the simple 5-2-1-0 formula to practice four habits every day, screen time tends to jump out at people as the toughest to manage everyday.   

We get it.  Sometimes it feels as if screens have taken over our lives.  We use them to communicate, to play, to entertain, and to watch while we relax and unwind.  And that time can really add up.  Parents ask us, "does 'screen time' include TV time?"  It does.  Screen time means time on a laptop, in front of a TV, on a tablet or on the smartphone.  From the CDC website: "According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids ages 8-18 now spend, on average, a whopping 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment each day, 4.5 of which are spent watching TV. Over a year, that adds up to 114 full days watching a screen for fun. That’s just the time they spend in front of a screen for entertainment. It doesn’t include the time they spend on the computer at school for educational purposes or at home for homework."   The big problem?  Screen time is often time away from playing, running, hiking, and getting other forms of physical activity.  But there are steps you can take as a family to ensure that screens don't rule your household and tools you can use to ensure you get plenty of physical activity, no matter the weather or time of year.  

  • Winter can make it hard to get enough physical activity time outdoors - it's cold, it gets dark early, and sometimes it's just too icy to be safe.  One tool that can help schools and families get physical activity indoors is GoNoodle.  There is a fee for schools to subscribe to it, but the app for families to use is free.  You can find fun, silly, high impact, and even educational activities and "brain break" exercises and dances that are fun for all ages.  
  • Sometimes you just need some suggestions about what to do.  Go here for a monthly activity calendar to give you a fun physical activity recommendation every day of the year.
  • Of course, with screens, time can get away from you.  One way to ensure 30 minutes of screen time doesn't turn into 60:  set a timer.  When the timer goes off, walk around the neighborhood or do a couple of GoNoodle videos.
  • Limit screen time to certain times of day and incorporate those into your family's schedule so that your screen time is deliberate and not a runaway activity that can fill up too much time unintentionally.  
  • Finally, ban screens during meals.  Not only do screens interfere with conversation and the important social aspects of sharing meals, screens can distract you from paying attention to your body.  If you're distracted, it's harder to pay attention to when you're full, and you can risk overeating.  

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has more information, including tips to stay on track.  

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What is healthy? 4 steps anyone can take 

Posted on February 13, 2018 at 2:14 PM by Jump IN for Healthy Kids

Have the Olympics triggered conversations in your house about sports and having a healthy body?  Now is a great time to talk about the connection between physical activity and staying healthy.  You don't have to be a world-class athlete to have strong bones and muscles. Here is a simple formula that you can use every day (you may already be doing one or more of these activities) to help your body function in good form.    

Our friends at Let's Go! created a simple slogan to help you remember four ways to be healthy every day: 5-2-1-0. These research-proven recommendations come from experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Reduce screen time to improve children's health and development

Posted on December 22, 2017 at 1:18 PM by Jump IN for Healthy Kids

Before you turn on the TV, computer, or other electronic device for your child, consider these facts:

  • Screen time is habit-forming. The more time children engage with screens, the harder time they have turning electronics off as they become older children.
  • Over 50% of advertisements accompanying children’s TV shows are about foods. Up to 98% of these promote foods that are high in fat, sugar, and/or sodium.
  • The early years are critical. Limiting exposure to television during the first 4 years of life may decrease children’s interest in it in later.
  • Excessive screen time has been linked to irregular sleep and delayed language acquisition for children under the age of 3, as well as increased early childhood aggression.
  • Children who spend less time watching television in their early years tend to do better in school. They also have a healthier diet and are more physically active.
  • Reducing screen time can help prevent childhood obesity. This in turn means significantly reduced risk for diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure at young ages.
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Teach healthy habits in early childhood: easy as ABC...

Posted on October 20, 2017 at 12:36 AM by Jump IN for Healthy Kids

Habits established in early childhood last a lifetime. We know that ages 5 years and under are particularly critical in developing healthy behaviors and attitudes towards food and physical activity. What can child care providers do to encourage healthy habits? That's as easy as ABC...

Active Play

We often say, "Everyone needs 1 hour of physical activity every day," but best practices in early childhood care call for even more active play. Young children need 120 minutes, or 2 hours, of active play every day, both indoors and outdoors. The benefits are plentiful. Active play:

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Help reduce screen time with family activity kits

Posted on September 21, 2017 at 3:57 PM by Jump IN for Healthy Kids

What can you—as an employer, a school, a child care provider, or another community-based organization—do to help families unplug at home and limit recreational screen time to a maximum of two hours per day? 

Educating parents, children, and families about what is healthy—and what the consequences of excessive screen time are—is one strategy. But you can also support their efforts to reduce screen time by making alternative activities available. Try offering activity kits. 

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What is healthy? 4 steps anyone can take

Posted on June 21, 2017 at 11:57 PM by Jump IN for Healthy Kids

Lots of us express a desire to "be healthier," and to "raise healthy children," but what does that mean, exactly? Health and wellness tips may be widely available, but sometimes they feel contradictory and confusing. How do you know which sources to trust?

Our friends at Let's Go! created a simple slogan to help you remember four ways to be healthy every day: 5-2-1-0. These research-proven recommendations come from experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Too much screen time? Get the facts, plus tips for cutting back

Posted on April 6, 2017 at 1:08 AM by Jump IN for Healthy Kids

Excessive screen time is associated with increased risk for overweight and obesity, lower reading scores, and attention problems in school. But what constitutes "screen time" and what is excessive? 

What is "screen time"?

Screen time includes time spent watching TV, playing video games, using a computer, and using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. "Recreational screen time" refers to use for non-educational purposes.

Consider this: as new technologies and devices have become popular, they haven't replaced the old ones. For example, tablets and smart phones have not replaced television and video games—instead, they have actually added to the amount of time kids spend engaged with screens. 

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Ways your child care policy can support recommended screen time for kids

Posted on June 29, 2016 at 7:00 AM by Jump IN for Healthy Kids

Children spend an average of 7 hours per day watching television, playing video games and surfing the internet, even though research suggests that more than 2 hours of recreational screen time daily is associated with poor health, overweight and obesity. For children under the age of 2, no screen time is advised.

It is easy for recreational screen time to rack up, especially when it is used to fill transition periods or as a “quiet time” activity in child care settings, out-of-school programs, and at home. Take time to assess how much screen time kids are getting while in your care, and, if needed, create an action plan to replace that time with more constructive, healthy activities. We can help. 

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