Child weight issues

Physical activity and sedentary behaviour

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 play 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