Screen time refers to any time spent in front of a screen—this includes televisions, computers, tablets, and phones. The current screen time guidelines for children are no more than two hours per day for children two and over, and no screen time for children two and under. While children are generally getting too much screen time, which correlates with sitting down and exerting little energy, there are easy ways to keep screen time to a minimum. Follow these tips to reduce screen time and increase play for your child!
- Encourage activity during commercial breaks. Much of the time watching TV involves watching commercials, so try to encourage your child to move around during this time. Give them a hula hoop or jump rope or have them hop on one foot or do jumping jacks during commercials. This way time spent sitting is broken up by being physically active.
- Avoid having a TV or computer in your child’s bedroom. Keeping your child’s bedroom screen-free can help avoid the temptation to stay up late playing games or finishing a favorite movie. Help your child get a better night’s rest by having 15-30 minutes of technology-free time before going to bed.
- Be aware of time spent eating or doing homework in front of screens. TV and computer screens can both act as distractions. By having meals in front of the TV, children are less likely to pay attention to the food they’re eating. Also, your child is more likely to be productive by doing homework away from a screen, allowing even more time for play and activity.
Rule of thumb: the less screen time, the better. The more your child is away from the TV, computer or other electronic devices, the more they’ll be moving and exploring.
Did You Know?
The more time children spend in front of a TV or computer, the greater chance of obesity, sleep problems, depression, and anxiety. Encourage your child to get up and move!