Reducing sedentary time
Reducing screen time
It is important to limit the amount of time pre-school children spend in front of screens (including TV, DVDs, tablets, mobile phones). If a pre-school child does spend time in front of a screen, it is important that it is educational, or encourages them to be physically active. Through working with parents of pre-school children, you can help to educate parents in the importance of reducing screen time and how they can go about achieving this.
Below are some ideas to help parents reduce their child’s screen time:
After nursery action plan
Children tend to turn to television when they have few other activities to do. Support parents to come up with after work and after school/nursery activities that they can do when they can’t think of any other activities than to watch TV. Parents can make a list of top 10 activities that their family can chose to do. For example, riding a bike, walking the dog, dancing to music, playing games, helping make dinner/lay the table (see active game hand out).
Tip – Parents could also make a spinning wheel of activities with their children so the children can spin and decide on the activity
Create a viewing calendar
Parents can get their child to choose their favourite programmes and they can be put on a viewing calendar. The television can then be put on for these programmes, and then turned off afterwards. The risk with television viewing is that once the television is turned on children continue to watch whatever programmes come next. While children are watching their identified favourite programmes parents can set a timer and continue undisturbed with their own activities during this time.
Hint – use the action planning skills you learnt in the behaviour change technique module to help a family plan to reduce screen time and increase physical activity next week.
The following video shows how you might draw on the skills learned in the communicating with parents module to explore families’ physical activity and sedentary behaviours and help them identify what they might be able to change.
What is happening in the video?
In this video the practitioner (Paula) is talking to the father of 4-year old Chloe (played by an actor). You will see Paula uses open-ended questions allowing the parent to lead the topic of the conversation and discuss his family’s current lifestyle. She uses reflections to demonstrate understanding, and affirmations to praise Chloe’s father for the positive things he is already doing (e.g. walking Chloe to nursery). When Chloe’s father struggles to come up with ideas, Paula asks permission to make some suggestions, rather than just “jumping in” with advice. She then talks him through the active game handout and gives him time to consider whether any of these activities might be relevant for his family. Importantly Paula doesn’t rush the conversation and allows the parent time think about areas of change that would work for his family.
Below is a short quiz containing questions on what you have learnt throughout this module. If it takes a number of goes to get all of the questions correct, please note down each score in your logbook in the space provided. The main purpose of this quiz is to embed learning, and provide you with the opportunity to evaluate your learning. Please remember that we are focusing on the effectiveness of this website and not auditing your practice.
Once you have all the questions correct you will be provided with a certificate of module completion
Start the quiz
1. How long and at what intensity should children under 5 spend being physically active per day?
a) 30 minutes moderate
b) 60 minutes moderate-to-vigorous
c) 180 minutes moderate
d) 180 minutes any intensity
2. Which of these is a benefit of being physically active?
a) Weight management
b) Improving strength and endurance
c) Improved emotional well-being
d) All of the above
3. For pre-school children, what intensity of physical activity are getting dressed and helping with the cleaning considered to be?
a) Light activity
b) Moderate activity
c) Energetic activity
d) Sedentary behaviour
4. Children aged 5-18 years should be active for at least 60 minutes a day. What intensity should this be at?
a) Any – it doesn’t matter
5. Which of these is not classed as “sedentary time”?
c) Sitting watching TV
d) Lying watching TV
6. Which of these should parents not do to increase a child’s confidence in being physically active
a) Offer praise and encouragement for active behaviours
b) Encourage a child to spend time in a pushchair
c) Encourage their child to explore
d) Allow their child to do things for themselves
7. Which children is physical activity most important for?
a) Children who are overweight
b) Children who are underweight
c) All children regardless of weight
d) Children who are either over- or under-weight
8. If a 4-year old child is active for 75 minutes in the morning (playing out and in the house), 45 minutes in the afternoon (walking with mum) and 60 minutes before tea (playing out), are they meeting the recommended physical activity guidelines for their age?
a) No, because they have not done sufficient minutes of physical activity
b) No, because activity needs to be done all at once
d) No, because they are not active at the required intensity
Thanks for taking part!