Walk Away From the TV and Computer
Screen time can easily take up hours of your children’s time. Yet screen time should be limited to 1 hour per day for preschoolers and less than 2 hours per day for school age children (Canadian Paediatric Society, 2003).
Screen time includes television, computer and video games.
The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that parents begin to set limits on television use during the second year of a child’s life. Starting when children are young will help to set good habits as children grow older.
Did You Know...
T.V. can distract children from normal childhood activities such as playing, learning to talk, reading, spending time with friends and family, and participating in regular physical activity.
Tips to help you set limits on screen time for your children
- Send a positive message by suggesting a fun activity to do together instead of just telling kids to shut off the T.V.
- With your guidance, let your children choose which programs on TV they would like to watch for the week.
- Keep T.V., video games and computers out of your kids' bedrooms.
- Have alternative activities for your children after school, in the evenings and on weekends. Put together a list and post it on the fridge.
- Make mealtimes T.V. free. Mealtimes should be about family communication and enjoying good food together.
- Avoid using the T.V./video games/computer as a babysitter or entertainer for your children.
- Look at how much time you spend in front of the screen to see what messages you are sending to your children.
- Create a box with fun activities such as crafts, colouring books, crayons and puzzles that will keep your children busy while developing fine motor skills.
- Flipping through a big stack of books can provide fun and encourage a love for reading.
- Take children to the park, go for a walk, bike ride or just go outside to play.
- Before turning on the television, think about other activities your children enjoy doing and offer it to them first.