THUNDER BAY – FAMILY – The Healthy Kids Community Challenge Thunder Bay (HKCC Thunder Bay), launched the Power Off and Play! initiative – the next phase of the HKCC. This phase aims to encourage kids and families to build a balanced day by replacing screen time with more physical activity, social interaction, fun and educational choices for children.
“Encouraging active and fun alternatives for kids is critical for their physical health and well-being,” says Marianne Stuart, HKCC Thunder Bay Coordinator. “Balancing kid’s screen time can increase cognitive and communication skills in a child’s development. Yet, with all the new technology options and devices out there, limiting the time that kids spend looking at screens has never been harder.”
To help Thunder Bay families find ways to reduce their children’s screen time, Power Off and Play! is organizing an educational speaker series that runs from March to June. The series kicked off tonight at the Victoria Inn with keynote Rebecca Parlakian, Senior Director of Programs, “Zero to Three”, Washington DC.
Parlakian spoke to an engaged audience of parents, caregivers, child care experts, educators and community leaders about the complex ways in which screen use can influence early development, including learning, language, social-emotional skills, and health outcomes. Earlier in the day, she brought her message about the impacts of excess screen time on health and well-being to over 1000 elementary students.
“We hope her persuasive combination of evidence-based recommendations and real-life strategies have kicked off Power Off and Play! by helping to motivate families in our community to take action with substituting recreational screen-time for playtime and social activities,” Stuart adds.
Upcoming Power Off and Play initiatives:
Monday March 26 – Children & Anxiety parenting/caregiver session at Ogden Community School from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday April 24 – Learning Through Play -Find out why children’s play is essential to all aspects of their healthy development and how to support children in their play and learning. Full-day professional training for ECE’s, child care staff, educators, recreation leaders etc. with Pierre Harrison from PLAYLearnThink.
Saturday June 9 – Community Play Day with Pierre Harrison
▪ Research shows too much screen time for children can have negative outcomes for early development, physical and psychological health, and can interfere with important daily routines, making it difficult for children to stay healthy.
▪ Thunder Bay is among 45 communities selected to take part in the Healthy Kids Community Challenge.
▪ The Canadian Society for Exercise and the Canadian Pediatric Society’s recommended screen time limits:
▪ Under 2 years of age – no screen time
▪ 2 to 4 years – less than 1 hour per day
▪ 5 to 17 years – no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time per day