31 December 2009

Approximately 3 out of 5 Family-based Child Care Programs Restrict Mobile Play As A Form Of Punishment: Findings From A Recent Study

Stewart Trost, Oregon State University researcher and expert on obesity problems, surveyed approximately 300 family-centered child care facilities serving families with children aged 2 to 5. Even though about 4 out of 5 surveyed programs provided more than an hour of mobile playtime per day, approximately 2 out of 5 indicated that the children enrolled in their programs were required to sit still for prolonged time periods. Two-thirds of providers surveyed reported that they leave the television switched on for most of the school day.

Perhaps even more distressing was that over 60% of the surveyed child care staff reported that they withheld mobile playtime and movement (sometimes called “time-out”) as a punitive measure. Although time-out is preferred to corporal punishment, requiring children to sit still doesn’t improve behavior if what they really need is to burn off some energy. “Would you withhold fruits and vegetables for kids who misbehave and negatively affect their health?” Troft asks.” All the research shows that restricting physical activity makes children more, not less, likely to misbehave. So, it’s not even an effective means of punishment.”

Play is one of the most critical things a child does. Through active play and engagement with adults and other children, a child explores her surroundings, retains important information and builds connections in her mind. Play also provides children with the opportunity to develop crucial social traits (BBB, 2007).

As Trost suggests, preventing children from participating in the act of play is not effective in changing inappropriate behavior. Need ideas on parenting and discipline techniques that work? Please visit The Urban Child Institute’s resource page on sensitive discipline techniques at http://www.theurbanchildinstitute.org/Parenting.

Better Brains for Babies. (2007). Better Brains for Babies Trainer’s Guide. Athens, GA: Better Brains for Babies.

Kids in home-based day care lack exercise. (2009, December 18). Yahoo! News. http://news.yahoo.com/s/hsn/20091219/hl_hsn/kidsinhomebaseddaycarelackexercise/print

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