Link between movement, screen time and executive functioning.

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On seeing executive functioning in the title, I was recently prompted to read an article Children who move more and look at screens less have better executive functioning in The Sector, which highlights current early childhood research. Children who move more and look at screens less have better executive functioning (

Executive functioning skills include the capacity to remember, plan, pay attention, shift between tasks and regulate their own thoughts and behaviour. We believe they are incredibly important for living a thriving life, consequently, we afford opportunities for children to practise in a variety of ways every day.

When executive functioning was mentioned along with movement and screen time, which I interpreted as green versus screen time, this article was a must read. It highlighted…

A new study has explored the link between movement, screentime and executive functioning in toddlers, finding that those who used screens for an hour or less each day, and had higher levels of movement had stronger executive functioning skills.

We wanted to test the hypothesis that healthy weight status and adherence to the AAP guidelines for diet and physical activity would extend to greater executive function in 24-month-old children.

The article went on to explain the research method, results and conclusions which indicated that there was a link between time spent on screens and in physical activity on children’s overall executive functioning. Children who engaged in higher levels of movement had greater inhibitory control, working memory and overall executive function.

Now we clearly accept that all screens are not equal and that the amount of time children spend on screens is nuanced, depending on content and context. However, the question “What are children missing out on while on a screen?” remains relevant.

If there was ever an argument for increasing green time and reducing screen time, this research, which indicates the impact on children’s executive functioning skills, provides clear evidence.

The following past MPC blogs and NaturePlay link may also be worth a look.

Executive Functioning (in a nutshell)….. – Mitchelton Pre-Schooling Centre (

Screen Time Confusion! – Mitchelton Pre-Schooling Centre (

MPC and Screens – Mitchelton Pre-Schooling Centre

Screen time in this new world! – Mitchelton Pre-Schooling Centre (

NaturePlay Australia | Green Time vs Screen Time