Screen time is inactive behaviour that involves using screens while not doing anything else active:

  • a computer or laptop
  • watching television
  • playing electronic games, tablets or phones for recreation.

Screens can play a part in learning and communication but too much screen time for children can be unhealthy.

Screen time usually involves time spent sitting instead of children being active. Most children have enough exposure to screen time at home, so screens should be limited within the early childhood setting.

screentimeScreen time recommendations infographic
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Australian 24 Hour Movement Guidelines

Being active every day is important for the healthy growth and development of children. The guidelines outline how much physical activity, sleep and screen time children should be having. 

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How can my service support this message?
  • Having a clear policy on appropriate screen use
  • Make sure your program has minimal periods of inactivity (no more than one hour at a time) 
  • Using Monitor learning experiences with children
  • In extreme weather, encouraging Move experiences 
  • Selecting screen time experiences that encourage children to move around and be active 
  • Not using screen time as a reward 
  • Role model enjoyment of non-screen activities
  • not using personal devices in front of children 
  • Share the Screen Time message with families and display the poster in your service

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How can Munch & Move support my service?

Your Support Officer can provide resources to help limit small screen use including:

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Policies

Having a service policy that reflects Munch & Move messages shows your service's commitment to Munch & Move and the Australian 24 Hour Movement Guidelines.

Your Support Officer can assist your service to develop or review policies. We have sample policies that includes all the key elements. Download the sample policies to use as is or adjust it to reflect your service’s practices.


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Role modelling

It is so important that all staff role model good screen time habits for children.

We encourage services to include in your technology/screen policy staff role modelling appropriate screen use. Educators should not use personal devices in front of the children. Educators are encouraged to role model enjoyment of active play that is not screen based.

Appropriate use of screens in services is: 

  • educational purposes
  • supporting indoor physical activity
  • supporting music and movement
  • learning and language support programs.

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Staff training

We offer free training options and resources for educators and cooks working in centre-based early childhood services and Family Day Care in Western Sydney.

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Monitor case studies

Check out these ideas from other services on how to put in place the Monitor key message at your service.


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Monitor resources

We have a range of resources to help encourage our monitor key message. The resources include:

  • ideas to reduce screen time and get more active
  • ideas on how to use screen time for physical activity or educational purposes
  • information to share with families so they can learn how to manage screen time at their homes
  • sample policies.

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Reference:

NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (SPANS) 2015

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