Watching DVDs and TV shows, texting, emailing, surfing the Internet, playing video games, computer games and handheld games…the number of activities we do in front of electronic screens seems to increase every year, as well as the amount of time spent doing them.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to tear ourselves away from these screens, and even harder to motivate our kids to take a break. And kids who have too much screen-time are more likely to be overweight, bully other kids, have problems at school with attention and grades and have trouble sleeping - not a great combination for the start of the school year. So how do parents help kids reduce screen-time, and manage to break away themselves?
First let's take a look at the standards. The average amount of daily screen-time of American kids and teens is seven hours. The recommended amount is two hours a day. (For preschool, less than one hour. For children 2 years and younger, no screen-time.) And kids who have a TV in their room watch television about 1.5 more hours a day than kids who don’t. Is the screen-time of the kids in your family closer to the average amount or the recommended amount?
For anyone - adults and children - whose screen-time is above the recommended amount the first step is to set a goal to reduce it, even by only an hour a day.
Two ways to reduce screen-time
- Make a list of the TV shows you watch each night. Decide which ones are your favorites and which ones aren’t as important to you. Don’t watch at least one of the unimportant shows.
- If you play handheld games, video games or a game on a computer or the Internet, play it for one-fourth less time. (An adult can help kids figure out how much less time this is.)
What to do instead of screen-time
Usually during screen-time you’re not moving. And chances are, you're eating. It’s easy to overeat in front of a screen because you're concentrating on what's on the screen instead of what you're putting into your body. So, no matter what your amount of screen-time is, set a goal not eat while in front of the screen.
- Play a board game
- Go for a walk around the neighborhood
- Hit some tennis balls
- Enjoy a day at the pool
- Grab a ball and shoot some baskets
- Ride bikes
- Head to the club on a rainy day…with over 100,000 square feet under our roof, Five Seasons is always a great option!