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2-Screen Time

How many hours of TV, movies, video games, and computer time do your kids watch every day?

Research has shown that more hours of screen time is directly related to childhood obesity.

It is best if you limit your child to two hours or less of screen time every day. Think of all that extra time your child will then have to be active!


5-2-1-0 How to go Lean on the Screen
5-2-1-0 Screen Time Log

Here are some quick tips to limit screen time and get your kids more active.

Talk to Your Family

  • Explain to your kids that it's important to sit less and move more in order to stay at a healthy weight. Tell them they’ll also have more energy, and it will help them develop and/or perfect new skills, such as riding a bike or shooting hoops, that could lead to more fun with friends. Tell them you’ll do the same.

Set a Good Example

  • You need to be a good role model and limit your screen time to no more than two hours per day, too. If your kids see you following your own rules, then they’ll be more likely to do the same.

Log Screen Time vs. Active Time

  • Start tracking how much time your family spends in front of a screen, including things like TV- and DVD-watching, playing video games, and using the computer for something other than school or work. Then take a look at how much physical activity they get. That way you’ll get a sense of what changes need to be made. Use the screen time log- see attachment at bottom of page.

Make Screen Time = Active Time

  • When you do spend time in front of the screen, do something active. Stretch, do yoga and/or lift weights. Or, challenge the family to see who can do the most push-ups, jumping jacks, or leg lifts during TV commercial breaks.

Set Screen Time Limits

  • Create a house rule that limits screen time to two hours every day. More importantly, ENFORCE the rule.

Create Screen-free Bedrooms

  • Don’t put a TV or computer in your child's bedroom. Kids who have TVs in their room tend to watch about 1.5 hours more TV a day than those that don’t. Plus, it keeps them in their room instead of spending time with the rest of the family.

Make Meal Time = Family Time

  • Turn off the TV during meals. Better yet, remove the TV from the eating area if you have one there. Family meals are a good time to talk to each other. Research shows that families who eat together tend to eat more nutritious meals. Make eating together a priority and schedule family meals at least two to three times a week.

Provide Other Options

  • Watching TV can become a habit, making it easy to forget what else is out there. Give your kids ideas and/or alternatives, such as playing outside, getting a new hobby, or learning a sport.

Don't Use Screen Time as Reward or Punishment

  • By limiting TV, video games, or computer time these become even more important to children. Try to think of fun active ideas to use as rewards.

Source: National Institutes of Health: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

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