STRIDE Ahead: Unplugging for Summer

Cheyenne, Wyo. (KGWN) The following information is courtesy Janet Maxwell, an Occupational Therapist at STRIDE Learning Center. Tips to help turn your kids away from electronics and to the outdoors this summer.

“A mere 20 years ago, children used to play outside all day, riding bikes, playing sports and building forts. Masters of imaginary games, children of the past created their own form of play that didn’t require costly equipment or parental supervision. Children of the past moved… a lot, and their sensory world was nature-based and simple (Rowan, Chris- OTR.).”


Usage – Toddlers up to 2 years of age average 2.2 hours of TV per day
- Elementary aged children use an average of 8 hours of
entertainment technology per day
- 65% of children have TVs in their bedroom
- 50% of North American homes have TV on all day

• 1 in 6 children have a diagnosed developmental disability
• 1 in 6 children are obese
• 14.3% of children have a diagnosed psychiatric disorder
• Each hour of TV watched daily between ages of birth and 7 years
equated to a 10% increase in attention problems by age 7 (Dr.
Dimitri Christakis).


Under stimulated vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile, and attachment systems (motor/physical systems)
+ Visual and auditory systems are overstimulated = imbalanced neurological development
- Limited postural development
- Limited strength
- Limited endurance
- Limited motor planning
- Limited ocular development (prolonged visual fixation on 2-D screen…reading and printing??)


Movement + Touch + Connection to other humans = Healthy motor and attachment systems


• Critical period for attachment development is birth – 7 months

* Best facilitated by close contact with primary care providers and
lots of eye contact
* Helps ensure development of posture, bilateral coordination,
optimal arousal states and self regulation
• Young children require 3-4 hours per day of active rough and
tumble play for normal development
• Time in nature and vigorous activity improve learning

American Academy of Pediatrics
- Children less than 2 years of age should not use any technology
- Children older than 2 should restrict usage to 1-2 hours per day

• Many parents today perceive outdoor play is “unsafe”…perhaps
limiting essential developmental components usually attained in
outdoor rough and tumble play
• 100 years ago we needed to move to survive…is it true that now
we need technology to survive??
• Are we hardwiring children for high speed?? How does this
impact imagination and attention to academic tasks?


• Go to a new/ different playground every week – Body awareness, motor organization, visual processing, sensory processing
• Hit the pool or lake – Strength and endurance, body awareness
• Take a hike and create a list of things to look for – Strength and
endurance, sensory processing
• Yard games- scavenger hunt: find 3 things in backyard (brown
leaf, green leaf, white rock) and bring back in less than 1 minute.
- Color hunt: cut up construction paper and hide in grass
- Barber shop- cut grass and flowers with scissors
• Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles- practice blowing and chasing, catch
,clap, kick, stomp, roll on to pop.
• Rolling down a grassy hill
• Sand box/beach sand play
• Finger painting, even in pudding!
• Hanging from hands and upside down
• Swinging
• Jumping- rope, hop-scotch
• Hot dog- roll up in a blanket and press ‘toppings’ on him/her
• Blowing bubbles, kazoos, a recorder
• Spinning- in the yard, on a merry-go-round
• Rocking- on a playground toy or in a chair
• Crawling on hands and knees- animal pretend- or wheel barrel
(on hands- someone hold feet)
• Drawing with sidewalk chalk
• Sliding- sitting up, lying down, front wards, backwards
• Riding Vehicles- bike, scooter
• Walking on unstable Surfaces- sandy beach, grassy meadow
• Tummy Down, Head Up- having him lay on his tummy to do
writing, coloring, looking at books

-The Impact of Technology on Child Sensory and Motor Development
by Cris Rowan, OTR
* Please see Ms Rowan’s article for additional references
- Brack, Jenny C. (2004). Learn to Move, Move to Learn! Shawnee Mission, KS: AAPC
- Case-Smith (2005). Occupational Therapy for Children (5th ed.). St. Louis, MS: Elsevier Inc.
- STAR Center, Denver, CO

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