Unwrapping Screen-time & Finding Childhood
Back to the Basics of Allowing Children to Enjoy Healthy Play
Development during early childhood shapes what becomes the foundation for development throughout a person’s life. Language, motor, interpersonal, and many other skill sets have their roots in the earliest parts of childhood and, as such, this time period is incredibly important. The job of young children is to play, move, talk, and interact with people and things so as to build basic skills – and it’s just as important for this to happen as it is for an adult to do their own job every day.
The Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, an organization committed to allowing children the freedom to enjoy a childhood that is free from corporate influence, recently released a new resource that promotes screen-free time for your children. Useful for parents, educators, health professionals, and anyone interested in promoting healthy growth and development in young children, Healthy Kids in a Digital World is a pamphlet that shares information and ideas about not only the benefits of screen-free time, but ways to engage young children in activities that promote development. Available both as a digital download (formatted for home printers) and a sturdy, pre-folded pamphlet, the resource promotes screen-free time while also empowering families and educators with useful suggestions for healthy play.
Healthy Kids in a Digital World reminds readers how young children best learn and play – through hands-on, creative, and unstructured activities, and by having lots of conversations with people of all ages. It also reminds readers that children who engage in free play rather than screen-time end up spending more time with their families, get more exercise, and sleep better and longer at night. In order to ensure that children get to enjoy all of the benefits of screen-free playtime, the pamphlet suggests that families read often with their children, play dress-up, get creative with household materials (raid the recycling bin!), engage all five senses in exploration, and share stories together.
While committing to a screen-free (or nearly screen-free) childhood may sound somewhat daunting, the information and activity suggestions in the pamphlet are actually simple and manageable, and are probably things that your family already does together – so simply start doing them more often! A screen-free early childhood experience isn’t actually too difficult to create – especially not while utilizing the simple suggestions from Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood.
[Photo credit: (cc) Glenn Wadsworth]