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Child Care Providers Adopt Screen-time Policies

In just the past two months, over 200 Washington State child care providers have particpated in a free on-line training to help them implement screen time policies. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends reducing children’s screen time as one of the most important strategies for preventing childhood obesity. Most pre-school children watch more than four hours of television per day, and some of this screen time takes place in child care settings. More than 60% of children under age six are in non-parental care on a regular basis, and over one million of these children receive care in licensed family homes. Policies at home and at child care can make it easier for children to avoid excessive hours in front of screens.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), screen time is not recommended for children two and under. For older children, AAP recommends no more than two hours per day.

“Media Aware Child Care” is a STARS-approved online training course through the Washington State Department of Early Learning. STARS stands for State Training and Registry System. Participants earn one hour of continuing education.

By the end of the training, participants are able to:

  • Explain to others why it is important to limit screen time for children.
  • Tell others about the guidelines for screen time for children.
  • Establish policies to reduce screen time for children in their care.
  • Talk to parents about rules for limiting the screen time for children at home.

There is an irony in using screen time to learn about screen time reduction, but the training medium has allowed child care providers from all over the state to take the free training since it was launched in January. Anyone can take the training. Just click here to get started.


This online training is made freely available to early childhood professionals thanks to support from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Washington State Department of Health.


Thanks to many childcare professionals around the state who participated in the pilot testing of the training. An evaluation was completed in 2011 through surveys with participants.

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