Allowing screen time in your home daycare is entirely up to you. And with everything, there are good and bad consequences. So how much screen time should you allow? Or should you at all?
The American Academy of Pediatrics says “Well-designed television programs, such as Sesame Street, can improve cognitive, literacy, and social outcomes for children 3 to 5 years of age” but “Children younger than 2 years need hands-on exploration and social interaction with trusted caregivers to develop their cognitive, language, motor, and social-emotional skills. Because of their immature symbolic, memory, and attentional skills, infants and toddlers cannot learn from traditional digital media as they do from interactions with caregivers”
What is screen time?
The Canadian Pediatric Society defines screen time as “time spent with any screen, including smart phones, tablets, television, video games, computers or wearable technology.”
How much is too much screen time?
If you are an unlicensed home daycare you are not bound to any regulations regarding screen time. You get to choose how much screen time you deem appropriate. Below we have provided some example guidelines. If you are a licensed home daycare, your licensing board might have a set amount of time of screen time that is allowed. If you are unsure, check with your licencing contact. (Check out our Resource section for information on licencing)
Suggested Screen Time in Home Daycare Guidelines
Here are some screen time guidelines for daycares in the province of British Columbia.
- All licensed child care programs must limit screen time (TV, computer, electronic games) to 30 minutes or less a day.
- Programs where children are in attendance for 3 hours or less should not include screen time into the daily routine.
- Screen time is not offered to children under two years of age
How to create a screen time policy for your home daycare.
In your home daycare policies and procedures, you should have a screen time policy. Some parents will ask and others will not care. So, it’s best to be prepared. If you want to make every Friday movie day then do it, but just make sure that parents know before they sign your contract. Below are some resources to help you make your decision.
What to include in a screen time policy
- How much time per day / per week you will allow
- What types of shows you will be watching
- What types of games/apps you will be playing
- Rating of movies
Keep in mind just because a movie is rated G doesn’t mean much. The appropriateness of a movie depends on a person’s moral standards, religious beliefs and humour. Something you find appropriate, some else will not. But the best thing about the inappropriate stuff in kid’s movies is that kids have no idea that it’s inappropriate. They really are jokes for adults.
What if a parent disagrees with your screen time policy?
You can’t please everyone BUT……you don’t have to. You are in charge to run your home daycare the way “you” want. Start by gently reminded the parent that your home daycare is not a “no screen time home daycare.” And that then they can either choose not to send their child, provide you with movie/tv show options or their kid can nap during screen times.
Ultimately the decision on how much screen time is appropriate is yours. Use your judgement and don’t let parents try to dictate how you run your home daycare. Remember sometimes after a particularly stressful morning, a movie in the afternoon is the only thing that will keep you sane until pickup. So don’t be too hard on yourself if you allow the occasional movie or tv show.
Example of screen time policies in home daycares
Little Bear Home daycare is a screen time free home daycare. The use of electronic devices or television will NOT be part of Little Bear’s daily activities.
Funny Monkey Home Daycare’s use of electronic devices and television is limited to the occasional movie day in which parents will be notified prior to the screening and will be given the option to keep their child home from daycare if they deem the movie inappropriate.
Wild Child Home Daycare use electronic devices and television as a learning tool. We spend up to 30 mins a day on electronics. Our favourite apps are A-Z Kids, ABC Mouse and Little Monster. You will be provided with login information to track your child’s progress.
Resources to help you make your screen time policy
- Screen time and young children: Promoting health and development in a digital world
- Digital media: Promoting healthy screen use in school-aged children and adolescents
- Media and Young Minds