Limit Screen Time
Data indicates that children who watch more than 2 hours of recreational screen time (TV, computer, video games) per day have double the incidence of overweight and obesity when compared to children who watch less than 1 hour per day. In addition, screen time has been linked with trouble sleeping and poorer academic performance in school. Here are 8 ways to limit screentime:
- Limit recreational screen time to 2 hours or less per day and keep children physically active. We recommend the use of a timer to avoid quarrels as to how much time has elapsed.
- Children should not be allowed to watch TV before 2 years of age and there should be no TV in the children’s bedroom, no matter what the child’s age.
- Make bedrooms “no screen zones.” Kids who have TVs in their rooms tend to watch about 1.5 hours more TV per day than those who don’t. Move televisions, computers, tablets, etc. into shared family spaces.
- Turn off electronic devices during dinner. Make use of the time together to talk about the day.
- When your children’s friends gather at your house, limit the amount of time they play video games. After 20-30 minutes of playing, suggest that the children move on to something else that does not involve a screen, like playing a board game or physical game (including playing outside).
- Be a good role model and limit your time in front of a screen to no more than two hours per day, too. If your kids see you following your own rules and being active, then they’ll be more likely to follow your example.
- Try new hobbies. Replace screen time with something more active, or join a club, discover a new talent, or sign up for a hands-on class at your local community center. Check out 101 screen free activities.
- Avoid using electronic devices as a reward or punishment. This makes screens seem even more important.
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