Question #1: How many hours of screen time per day is recommended?
(Answer: Less than 1-2 hours per day and no screen time for children under age 2 years)
Question #2: What room should you make TV-free?
(Answer: The Bedroom! And also consider making the kitchen TV-free so you aren’t tempted to watch during meal time.)
The SMArt kids were not only correct but quick to answer these questions. Apparently, they have been listening well! Limiting screen time is key to being healthy and fit. Studies have shown that, for some children, reducing screen time can have a more positive impact than increasing exercise in reducing BMI (body mass index). So, think about unplugging it, or at least following the recommended guidelines above.
Also at our recent SMA, Chip Wilder, LICSW reminded our group that advertising can fool our brains into wanting certain foods. Remember the video called “Lights! Camera! Burger!”? We watched a food stylist turn a simple beef patty into a delicious-looking meal by props, trickery and fakery. She even used push pins to make the lettuce look fuller!
Next time, don’t be fooled!
As always, Chip reiterated the importance of mindfulness when it comes to making healthy choices. To make this point, he led the group in a mindfulness exercise with strawberries. They were able to hone in on the berry’s texture, smell, taste, and feel, a skill important to master when trying to watch portion sizes, listening to your appetite, and making healthy choices. As a reward, each SMArt kid planted a strawberry plant to bring home.
As we reviewed today, it is imperative to limit screen time – which includes television, DVDs, video games, and the computer/internet – for kids, and we discussed the reasons why. Too much screen time means:
The question is: what to do with all of that free time once screen time is limited? During our session, we created a brief list of what kids can do instead of screen time. Think about some of these ideas as you turn off your screens at home. It’s the perfect time of year to do this!
We also compiled a list of what parents can do to help their kids decrease screen time.
Here are some other ideas to try to reduce screen time at home:
LIMIT TV-WATCHING HOURS by:
TRY A WEEKEND BAN
BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL
CREATE A FAMILY TV SCHEDULE
PLAN ALTERNATIVES TO TV
The SMArt Kids each chose a personal goal to work on from now until our June visit. Many of the goals focused on reducing screen time and increasing physical activity. With warmer weather, longer days and fresher produce, hopefully these goals will be even easier to reach. Until next month, SMArt kids! Keep up the SMART work!