Reducing sedentary time and increasing physical activity
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.
Here 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 BOX – 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.
1ESSEHS Active (2015). "Early years evidence briefing ". Retrieved 11/07/17, from http://www.ssehsactive.org.uk/resources-and-publications-item/40/278/index.html.