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Blog: Tips to Decrease Screen Time From a School Nurse

Charlotte Green - Nurse 9th Grade Center

Charlotte Deehr, RN- School Nurse, WPHS 9th Grade Center

Written by Charlotte Deehr, RN, WPHS 9th Grade Center School Nurse

Learn more about Charlotte

My childhood unfolded in the last few years before the internet even came into being. I remember being 14 and AOL was the new big thing, chatting with friends through the computer? Amazing! However, today’s kids have lived their entire lives with bleeps, buzzes and signals coming from many channels of information. Parents and teachers alike worry about the impact that constant multitasking is having on children’s developing brains.

Even at a young age children are drawn to screens and smart phones. My own 2 month old will turn his head to see the T.V if he can, after all the noise, pictures and colors must be terribly interesting to him. So how do we ensure our kids don’t grow up to be screen-a-holics when there is clearly such a pull? And for parents, who themselves have plugged in. How do we reconnect and unplug in a way that’s fun, and functional? After all, we can’t ask our children to unplug when we ourselves can’t.

This is not just some thought, idea, or inane theory about how to reconnect with your kids and support their h45044ealthy development. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under 2 and limited screen time for kids over two. Their website claims that the average amount of screen time for today’s children is 7 HOURS per DAY. Whoa. That’s more than half of a typical child’s waking hours in a day! There is an increasing body of research that shows that excessive screen time can lead to attention problems, social delays, and an increase in violent behavior. Interaction with a live human being is clearly what human babies and young children need more than anything else. In fact, babies deprived of human contact die, even if they’re provided with adequate food, clothing, and shelter. Freedom to explore their world in a physical and sensory way is also crucial to healthy development. So, how can we help kids avoid media when screens are so prevalent and so unbelievably addictive? I’m glad you asked.

  1. MODEL WHAT YOU WANT

If you want your child to unplug, then you need to unplug. Yes it will be hard not to reach for the phone to check. Put it on silent, then you won’t hear the ding of the alerts, sit down, and enjoy dinner. Without the background noise. Show your children how to connect on a personal level not just digital.

  1. PLAY DATES

Make them no screen time play dates. Get outside, explore, or head to a local museum/park etc. This not only gets them away from screens it also challenges them to socialize, interact and get creative.

  1. OFFER A VARIETY

Books, games, puzzles, crafts, any other diversional activities. If your child isn’t getting into it right away try playing WITH them. Soon they will be immersed and you may be able to return to what you were doing.

  1. ARTS AND CRAFTS

Get some chalk and decorate the driveway, make some fun crafts to hang around the house for various holidays *even silly ones like national dog day or talk like a pirate day.* This is where Pinterest comes in handy. And have the kids pitch in to help clean up afterwards, don’t forget to have fun yourself.

  1. TUMBLE TIME

A little bit of roughhousing does everyone some good. Have some play time with your children, remember to let them win!

  1. YARD WORK

No one likes yard work, unless it’s the fun kind. Try planting a small garden, or challenging your kids to a contest of who can rake leaves the quickest (and throw in a prize if you like, something as simple as an ice cream cone, or no dish duty for the winner.)

  1. READ ALOUD

It doesn’t matter the age, any child can get transported away to another world in the form of a good story. Get your kids involved by alternating who reads, and you can even do voices for characters if you are feeling spunky. Pretty soon your child will be begging for their daily chapter.

 

In a society inundated by technology and digital relationships we need to be mindful to take a moment to unplug, reconnect with ourselves and our fellow humans.

A Healthy and Happy Transition Back to School

Going back to school means a transition from the generally laid back summer days to more structured school days.  It can also mean added stress for students and a need for increased awareness from parents.

Here a few tips we’ve gathered to help you and your kids experience a healthy and happy transition back to school:

Headaches

Boy_with_headacheBack to school may mean an increase in headaches for your child.  This can be a result of a change in their bedtime routine, increased academic stress, too much screen time, not enough exercise and more.  To decrease the likelihood of your child having headaches, makes sure they do the following:

Get enough sleep (sleep guidelines by age group can be found here)

No more than two hours of daily screen time (screen time guidelines for children can be found here)

Stay hydrated (tips to prevent dehydration in children can be found here)

Move 60 minutes/day (tips for kids’ physical activity can be found here)

For additional information on back to school related headaches, click here.

 

Backpack Safety

Three kindergarten girls standing togetherBackpacks are a necessity for students to carry their books, papers, and other school essentials.  However, a heavy backpack can cause injury to students.  Most doctors and physical therapists recommend that kids carry no more than 10% to 15% of their body weight in their packs.

For additional information on backpack safety, click here

 

 

School Breakfast and Lunch

device-nuggets-htc-dnaWant to know what options are available to your student through their school’s breakfast and/or lunch program?  Check our Orange County Public Schools’ Food and Nutrition Department’s (OCPS FNS) interactive menus here.  The menus allow the user to look up nutritional makeup of the food item as well as view a picture of the actual food item from OCPS FNS.  This service is also available through the app store here.   Bonus, the app allows parents and students to provide direct feedback to OCPS FNS about the food served in their school.

 

 

 

 

Stopping for School Buss

Each year, Florida drivers illegally pass school buses nearly two million times. Each illegal pass-by could result in a tragic injury or fatality of a student. The inconvenience of an extra few seconds spent waiting for a stopped school bus is insignificant compared to the loss of a child’s life, which is why Florida’s departments of Education, Transportation, and Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, have teamed up to develop the Stop on Red, Kids Ahead campaign to remind drivers of the laws and safe practices to take when approaching a school bus.

StoppingForSchoolBusSmaller

For additional back to school health tips, visit our friends at KidsHealth.

Have a back to school health tip you would like to share with us?  Leave a comment or visit us on Facebook: HealthyKidsTodayMagazine or Twitter:  @HealthyKids2Day