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Less Screen Time

With more electronic entertainment options than ever before, it is harder to get children up and moving. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids ages 8-18 now spend an average 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment each day, 4.5 hours of which are spent watching TV. Children who watch the most number of hours of television per day have the highest prevalence of obesity.

Health advocates identify screen time as any time spent watching television and videos, playing video and computer games or surfing the Internet. Too much screen time not only replaces physical activity time, it also encourages young people to eat more of the unhealthy, high-calorie foods they see advertised on TV. 

Families need to find ways to “unplug” and explore other ways to spend time together.  Sharing activities such as family fitness nights, reading at the local library, exploring outdoor parks, and simply enjoying each other’s company provides fun alternatives to screen time.

You can also turn commercial breaks into activity breaks when watching TV. Try jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches, or running in place

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Did you Know?
Kids who have TVs in their rooms tend to watch about 1.5 hours more of TV per day than those who don’t.
Did you Know?
The average adult, by the age of 65, will have spent 9 years of their life watching TV?

Screen Time Tips for Parents

Health experts advise limiting screen time to no more than two hours of computer or television time per day unless it’s related to homework or work. 

Pediatrics experts recommend no screen time for children younger than age 2.

  • Talk to your family about the importance of limiting screen time and being physically active
  • Set screen time limits and a good example
  • Have screen-free meals and focus on family time during meals
  • Create screen-free bedrooms
  • Watch television with your kids and discuss the content

70 Ways to be Screen-Free: 10 activity ideas for every day of the week!   

 

INSIDE OUTDOORS IN THE COMMUNITY
  1. Draw family portraits.
  2. Write a letter to your grandparents. Draw them a picture.
  3. Cook dinner with your parents.
  4. Write a story.
  5. Read a book.
  6. Make birthday cards for your friends.
  7. Start a journal or diary.
  8. Paint a picture.
  9. Invent a new game. Teach it to your friends.
  10. Learn to play a musical instrument. Make up a song.
  11. Make up a new board game and teach it to others.
  12. Do instant recess activities such as sit-ups, jumping jacks, or push-ups.
  13. Have a family game night.
  14. Make crafts and give them as gifts to friends and family.
  15. Design a poster for Screen Free Week.
  16. Research your family history. Make a family tree.
  17. Plan a slumber party or your next birthday party.
  18. Make puppets from old socks and put on a puppet show.
  19. Put together a puzzle.
  20. Listen to the radio.
  21. Build a fort in your living room
  22. Create a collage out of pictures from old magazines.
  23. Play a game of checkers or chess.
  24. Look at old photographs of your parents and family members, then make a scrapbook.
  25. Make a necklace, bracelet or keychain.
  26. Play hide and seek.
  27. Dress up in Halloween costumes and perform a play for your family.
  28. Play a card game (Go Fish is fun!) or learn a new card game.
  29. Learn a magic trick.
  30. Have a tea party.
  31. Make homemade Play-Doh.

 

  1. Create sidewalk art with chalk.
  2. Blow bubbles.
  3. Take your dog for a walk.
  4. Play tag with friends.
  5. Go birdwatching .
  6. Go on a bike ride.
  7. Climb a tree.
  8. Have a picnic.
  9. Make an obstacle course using jump ropes, balls, and chairs. Have a relay race.
  10. Make up a treasure hunt.
  11. Fly a kite.
  12. Start a garden.
  13. Put up a lemonade stand in your front yard.
  14. Visit and get to know your neighbors.
  15. Camp out in your backyard for the night.
  16. Organize a neighborhood scavenger hunt.
  17. Play hopscotch or hide and seek.
  18. Go on a hike.
  19. Play on a playground.
  20. Race your siblings or friends to the end of the block and back.
  21. Throw a football or play catch with a ball.
  22. Kick around a soccer ball or shoot hoops with a basketball.
  23. Collect leaves from a tree.
  24. Go on a bug hunt.
  25. Paint some rocks with watercolors.
  26. Hold a car wash or a back-yard toy car wash.

 

 

  1. Go on a nature walk at the park.
  2. Join a sports team.
  3. Go swimming at your local pool.
  4. Visit the zoo or a museum.
  5. Have a picnic or a cookout at the park.
  6. Go to a live sports game.
  7. Go ice skating or roller skating.
  8. Go to a museum.
  9. Visit your public library and stock up on some good books.
  10. Take cooking, jewelry-making, or singing lessons.
  11. Attend a local concert. Watch a band play.
  12. Volunteer at and/or visit a community garden.
  13. Go to a farmers' market.

 

 

Screen-Free Week

Screen-Free Week is an annual celebration encouraging schools, families, and communities to turn off the screens and explore other ways to spend time together.  Sharing activities such as family fitness nights, reading at the local library, exploring outdoor parks, and simply enjoying each other’s company provides fun alternatives to screen time.  Download the Screen-Free Week toolkit here.

We Can!

We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition) is a national movement designed to give parents, caregivers, and entire communities a way to help youth stay at a healthy weight. The following tools from We Can! may help you and your family reduce your screen time and increase your physical activity: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/wecan/reduce-screen-time/index.htm.