This fact sheet provides general information about repetitive behaviors (e.g. Tics) for parents and caregivers of children in early education and care programs. It describes how to define the behaviors and develop strategies to decrease the frequency of their occurrence. Updated 6/2018

Resilience in the face of stress comes from having the necessary social and emotional skills to cope successfully. Resilient children demonstrate initiative, self-regulate, and draw on established relationships to cope in adverse circumstances. These skills make them resilient in school and in life. Resilient children can focus, follow directions, share, solve problems, and show they care about others.

Devereux is a non-profit organization that operates a national network of behavioral health services. The early childhood initiative is based in the Devereux Center for Resilient Children (DCRC). The three essential components of resilience described by Devereux are: Initiative, Self-regulation and Relationships.

Adults know that electronic gadgets with screens entertain young children. Handing a cell phone to a child in a grocery store can make shopping easier. However, adults should focus learning with language rich, socially interactive opportunities for the child to learn about what is in the store.

Screen experiences from TV, smartphones, computers and tablets do not promote personality development. Real world social interactions are necessary. Screen devices substitute viewing images for exploration of the environment. While children can learn something from what they see and hear on screen devices, they learn more easily from interactions with people and objects they can see, touch and manipulate. The bottom line is that screen time for young children should be limited to provide more opportunity for play and learning in the real world. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that children less than 2 years of age should have NO screen time.*

Zero-to-Three published guidelines for use of screen devices in 2014.** The guidelines reviewed the research findings, the implications and limits to place on use of screen devices. For example, Zero-to-Three reported that, on average, children less than 3 years old are exposed to more than 5 hours of background TV. This exposure has a negative effect on the children’s development of language and other brain functions. It reduces the quality and quantity of play that is vital to learning.

 Screen Time, Digital Media Literacy:  What’s an ECE Practitioner to Do?

Two expert policy statements make recommendations about the appropriate use of media by young children. One is a statement from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in partnership with the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media (FRC). The other is from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The rapid development of digital media has evolved ahead of available research about their effects on children. Increasingy, we see parents putting their cell phones in the hands of their infants and toddlers to distract them while the parent is busy with something. Children have access to i-pads, cell phones, digital cameras and computers. Scientists who study brain development have evidence that early exposure to screens changes the way the brain is "wired" in ways that may lead to problems learning and relating to others. Definitive research is growing about how these devices affect young children. For now, we must rely on the expert policy statements from NAEYC-FRC and AAP. 


Screening young children’s development and behavior should be routine. Screening identifies children who need further evaluation to see if they have a problem. With early identification, children can receive services when they benefit the most from them.

See Managing Chronic Health Needs in Child Care and Schools, 2nd Edition available from the bookstore of the American Academy of Pediatrics at or search for more information. In PA, please send your health and safety request with your name and phone number to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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