EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAM. WE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.
Screen time includes more than just TV, it’s also watching DVDs, playing video games, texting on your cell or spending time in front of a computer. Experts say that children should get at least 60 minutes of activity or more every day, so limiting screen time makes way for regular physical activity. All of us need to find the balance between screen time and getting enough physical activity so turn off the screens and expand your family’s energy, recharge their minds and improve their health.
Here are some great tips from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation:
- Know how much screen time you and your children are getting, and then set limits for the entire family. You’ll be amazed how much extra time you “find” when you turn off the electronic devices.
- Using screen time to reward or punish a child makes it seem more important than it is. Use praise, encouragement and recognition for physical activity, and make screen time a “non-event” in your home.
- When watching TV at home, do jumping jacks, push ups or crunches during commercial breaks. Set up a stationary bike in the TV room, and encourage kids to move through their favorite shows.
- Many kids list watching TV as their No. 1 after-school activity. Sometimes, they just need help coming up with other things to do. Have your kids make a “Top 10 List” of after-school activities. Just a few examples include riding bikes, shooting hoops, walking the dog, folding laundry or even helping with dinner. Post the list on the fridge so your kids can check it when they get home.
- Turn off the TV during mealtime.
- Take the TVs and computers out of your kids’ bedrooms. Children who have TVs in their rooms spend almost one and a half hours more each day watching them than their peers. Plus, if your kids are in their rooms watching TV, they’re removed from family time.
- Use the TV to watch a video— whether it’s dancing, tae kwon do or yoga. Put on your sweatbands and have some family fitness time.
This year participate in Screen-Free Week. It’s an annual event in which parents, children, teachers and others across the country turn off screen media (TV, video games, computers, cell phones, etc.) and celebrate the magic of being unplugged. Instead of relying on screens for entertainment, participants read, daydream, explore, enjoy nature and spend time with family and friends.
Did you know:
- School-age children spend more time with screen media—television, video games, computers, and hand-held devices—than in any other activity but sleeping.
- Screen media use is at an all-time high among preschoolers—according to Nielsen, young children spend, on average, more than 32 hours a week watching just television.
- Screen time is habit forming and linked to poor school performance, childhood obesity, poor sleep habits, and attention problems.
- 64% of children ages 12 to 24 months watch TV and videos for an average of just over 2 hours a day—even though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends discouraging screen time for children under 2.
SCREEN FREE WEEK: May 5th to May 11th, 2014
For more information, visit http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/.
Need some more encouragement? Read 5 Reasons You Should Participate in Screen Free Week at The Body Smart Blog and turn off those screens!
My Green Side’s web pick of the week:
Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood‘s (CCFC) mission is to support parents’ efforts to raise healthy families by limiting commercial access to children and ending child-targeted marketing. In working for the rights of children to grow up—and the freedom of parents to raise them—without being undermined by corporate interests, CCFC promotes a more democratic and sustainable world.