Think Big, Start Small: Unplug Under 2

In our continuing series on small changes you can make to help your kids grow up healthy and happy, Kansas Action for Children shares more with us on the key changes parents and educators can make related to food, drinks and activity that can have a big impact on the health of Kansas kids.

THINK BIG. Start Small.

Small Changes, Big Impact

To help maximize the impact of a few changes, we’ve identified four top priorities based on research and collaboration with Kansas experts:

  1. Better Beverages
  2. Unplug Under 2
  3. Breastfeeding Benefits and
  4. Right Rewards.

These are simple changes that are designed to work for families and child care programs – from small family day care homes to big child care centers.

Unplug Under 2

Kids and adults spend a lot of time looking at electronic screens, like smart phones, tablets and TVs, but for young children, screen time should be limited or avoided.

As a general rule, children under age 2 should have no screen time.  For these young children, screen time can interfere with healthy brain development – a child’s brain develops best when interacting with people like parents, caregivers and other kids, not screens.  The stimulation from electronics can also interfere with restful sleep.  Babies and toddlers sleep a lot, so when they are awake, it’s important to maximize the time they spend interacting and exploring the real world.

Older children should have no more than two hours of screen time each day.  For children of all ages, time spent looking at screens is generally sedentary and occupies time when they could be engaged in active play.   Excessive screen-time can lead to serious issues, including attention problems, trouble in school, sleep disorders, and obesity.  When older kids are allowed screen time, make sure it’s a high-quality and interactive experience – ask questions and discuss what is happening on the screen. This helps kids make connections with real world activities.

Swap screentime for active play. Make screentime a reward-- not a routine. No screentime before age 2 and no more than two hours of screentime for kids older than 2.

Small changes to Unplug:

Need some alternatives to screen time?

The library has lots to offer!

Kids sing and dance at storytime.

Kids sing and dance with Becca at storytime.

  • We sing, dance, and read at Preschool Storytime every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10:00 am.
  • Imaginative play centers are available in the Family Zone, which make a great opportunity for interactive play with other kids and parents.
  • Come build at BLOCKFEST on Friday, April 15th.
  • And the checkout limit for books is 99, so be sure to stock up so you can replace some of that screen time with reading time.

What has worked for your family when it comes to limiting screen time?  Share your tips in the comments!

Natalie Moreland

Natalie works in the Kids Library and has a background in teaching. She delights in spreading bookjoy to people of all ages. She also takes interest in cycling, creating art, social justice, raising small livestock, and making music.