Friday, April 27, 2012

Get Ready, Next Week is Screen-Free Week! April 30-May 6

What is screen-free week?*
This is one week each year where many families commit to turning off all electronic entertainment for an entire week. That means televisions, computers, videos, and any other electronic devises your child may use. This also includes handheld devises and all of those new apps geared toward kids! This might seem very challenging to many of you (including myself) because we definitely live in a world full of technology. Screen-free week is only 7 days long; you can do it, and you might discover something wonderful in the process.

* Screen-Free week is sponsored by the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood and is endorsed by hospitals, the Head Start program, the National WIC Association, and local health departments among other groups.
Why screen-free?
Excessive screen time has been linked to:

·        Childhood obesity
·        Poor school performance
·        Attention problems
·        Displacement of other important activities, such as physical activity and creative play
The stats and recommendations
·        Children in America age 2-6 spend an average of 4 hours watching TV per day.
·        According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 29% of children in America under the age of 2 have TVs in their rooms.
·        Preschoolers spend on average 32 hours of screen-time per week.
·        The current AAP recommendation is for children under age 2 to watch NO TV.
·        For older children, the AAP recommends 1-2 hours of supervised TV time per day, and that the programs are educational and non-violent.
·        For a recent post about new recommendations for media use and babies, click here: Baby Behavior in the News: AAP Releases ANew Policy Statement on Media Use and Babies

Alternatives to screen-time
Explore other ways to play and connect with your baby and other children. Here are a few of our past posts that can help you do exactly that.

1. Baby Talk and the Adult Brain Learn about how talking to your baby actually changes the language centers of your brain, especially for mothers.
2. Entertaining Your Baby WithoutBreaking the Bank This post provides some alternative, cost-friendly activities for you and your baby.
3. For Babies, A Little Playtime is aGreat Workout! Read about the importance of “exercise” for babies every day!

4. Babies’ Emotional Development: SocialReferencing (2 part series) Babies learn by looking at and interacting with YOU.
5. Too Much Fun: Preventing Overstimulation in Infants and Toddlers Don’t forget to give your baby breaks from all of this fun play time!

6. Choosing the Right Gift for Baby Learn about toys specific for your baby’s personality.

7. Barriers to Building Relationships with Babies: Marketing and the Perfect Parent Learn about “The Case Against Baby Einstein” (and other videos targeted to infants).

Ideas for the Long Term (Adapted from “What parents can do to guide and reduce screen-time” by The Early Years Institute)

·        Limit hours of TV per day or week
·        Limit screen-time to specific times or days of the week
·        Balance screen-time with playtime
·        Turn off TV during meals
·        Watch appropriate shows together; ask questions about what is happening in the show; talk about the characters’ feelings and decisions.
·        For older kids, talk about the difference between commercials and the regular show. Most kids don’t know the difference.
Technology can be a wonderful thing. Screen-free week is all about discovering alternatives to technology and finding a balance between play time and screen-time, not cutting out all technology for the rest of your life. We know that screen-free time is impossible to follow during the work day, since many of us work on computers. Instead, promote scree-free time at home with your family after work hours and on the weekend. Participate in screen-free week with other friends or family you know; it might make it a little easier! Good luck and know that we are taking the pledge with our own children for no screen-time this next week as well! Tell us your stories of how it goes!

References and Resources
Screen Time FactSheet and Parent Tips (The Early Years Institute)

Official Sitefor Screen-Free Week 2012

AAPRecommendations for TV Viewing

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, having survived (and I think thrived)whilst looking after my now 2.5yr old daughter with lots of help from this fabulous site, I am expecting my second child in 2 months time. I was looking around the site for anything on preparing a toddler for the arrival of a new baby and dealing with jealousy/sibling rivalry once the baby arrives, but I couldn't see anything on that topic - any advice or thoughts on this?
    Many thanks for all your wonderful information, Josiejo