Sedentary behaviors, such as prolonged TV viewing, can negatively influence health. This is true for people of all ages, including children, who are constantly learning and growing.
To decrease screen time and increase your child’s physical activity time:
- Avoid TV for infants and children less than two years old. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends zero media use and zero television viewing for this age group, because person-to-person interaction is so essential during the early years in order to foster proper growth and development.
- Aim for less than two hours a day. Try to limit television time and time using media devices to one to two hours a day or less for children over two years of age. This allows for plenty of time during the day for other activities such as playing outside.
- Be active during commercials. During the commercials, play active games where your child faces away from the TV. Have them hop on one foot or see who can do the most jumping jacks. This is a great way to incorporate physical activity, and to avoid watching the marketing for unhealthy foods.
- Find alternative activities. Try integrating new activities into your child’s day instead of watching TV. For example, go to the park and use the playground equipment, or allow your child to participate in a sport depending on their age and development. Activities like dance, soccer, and T-ball can be fun for children, and provide them an opportunity to engage in physical activity. Plan on staying inside? Try turning on music and dancing!
It is important for children to have opportunities for movement every day, in order for them to properly grow and develop. Try to decrease your child’s screen time and increase the amount of time they are being physically active!
Did You Know?
Research has shown that children and adolescents spend more than seven hours a day watching TV and/or using a variety of media devices. This is more time than any other activity besides sleeping! Not surprisingly, obesity prevalence is the lowest for children who watch less than one hour of TV a day.