Spending less time in front of the television and computer can mean more engaging family time, more fun, and healthier kids.
Who: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a group of more than 60,000 pediatricians who are committed to the well-being of children.
What: The AAP recommends that children over the age of two spend two hours or fewer watching TV or using the computer, not counting time spent with homework.
Children under the age of two should not watch any television.
Where: Your own living room. Keep televisions out of children’s rooms to stay in touch with what your kids are watching, and to make television more active. Ask questions about what you are watching and discuss the exaggerations of commercials.
When: Start now!
Why: When kids are watching television, they are not moving. Studies have linked screen time to childhood obesity. Unhealthy snacks often go along with TV watching, and junk food commercials targeted at kids can lead them to ask for more of it. Screen time has also been associated with lower reading scores and attention problems. Plus, finding new activities can be rewarding for both you and your children.
- Set limits. Use a timer to let everyone know when TV or computer time is over.
- Choose wisely. Instead of just leaving the TV on in the background, decide what programs to watch in advance. Recording programs lets you be more flexible and even skip commercials.
- Discuss rules and plans. Talk with your children about rules such as no TV until homework or chores are done and make plans about what to watch that week.
- Be a good role model. Participate in your plan, and come up with other activities to do with your kids.
We hope to see you and your family there!