Healthy Kids Community Challenge wants kids to power off
A funding program is encouraging service providers to make sure young kids aren’t stuck behind screens.
Jaclyn Shewchuk, the local project manager for the Healthy Kids Community Challenge at the Red Lake Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) branch, said there have been 19 applications for up to $3,000 in funding from organizations in the region.
“We’re focusing on reducing sedentary or recreational use of screen time in children age zero to 12,” Shewchuk said, and added that the funding will assist organizations in creating a policy that reduces screen time in their agencies as well as utilities that will promote reduced screen time.
Shewchuk said the good thing about the “Power Off and Play” theme is that it’s allencompassing, and the time spent sitting in front of a screen can be reduced through things like artistic activities, cooking classes, physical exercise and music.
She also said the recommended amount of screen time is none at all for children under two, less than one hour for children age two to four, and no more than two hours of recreational screen time for children age five to 17.
According to a Feb. 1 press release from the NWHU, the challenge will promote staying within the recommended screen time limits, putting computers and smartphones away during important times of the day, such as during meals and bedtime, and replacing screen time with other physical, social and educational activities.
To register, people can go to www.northweststrong.ca/healthykids and click on “Power Off and Play” under the program themes. The deadline to submit a proposal is Friday, Feb. 16.
Kindergarten students Nevaeh Delaronde (left) and Marissa Bryan stir things up in the Pope John Paul II School outdoor classroom on Friday, March 31, 2017. The Healthy Kids Community Challenge is encouraging regional organizations to implement a policy that would reduce children's screen time and promote physical and social activity.