We are all aware that childhood obesity is a real problem in our country and as concerned parents we have incorporated exercise into our kids’ daily schedule.
But hot summer days often present significant challenges for parents who strive to keep their kids actively engaged with outdoor activities while still being aware of the fact that too much outdoor time is just simply not always a good idea. How to maintain a perfect balance on 100 degree days can present quite a conundrum. Quiet activities like reading, playing games on the computer or watching TV are probably high on every parent’s list on scorching hot days. But of course as your child’s ultimate teacher it’s all about how to achieve the perfect blend of activities while keeping everyone happy.
The American Heart Association has suggested the steps listed below for reducing TV time in your house.
- Have a plan: If you’re going to turn off the TV be ready to offer alternatives.
- Move the furniture so that the television is not the focal point of the room.
- Take the TV out of the bedroom.
- Plan TV watching in advance. Turn the TV on for those shows and turn it off afterward.
- Turn off the TV during family meal time.
- Don’t make TV a reward.
- Make gradual changes, cutting back on screen time a little bit each week.
- Be a great role model:
Experts have recommended that kids’ screen time be limited to two hours a day and less for younger kids.
Just in case you need more incentive for cutting back on screen time, consider the following. Researchers from the University of Montreal conducted a study asking parents of 2 to 4 – year olds about their kids TV watching habits and then checked back when the kids were in fourth grade. The researchers concluded that every extra hour of TV watching per week added more abdominal fat and lower fitness levels years later. The full article can be viewed as a PDF here: International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity