Rules for Screen Time

Children and teens are spending more and more time in front of screens and less time being active. It’s no surprise that this is a contributing factor in childhood obesity. Below are some tips to help reduce screen time and make better lifestyle decisions that may aid in achieving a healthier body weight.

Dinner time is family time.

No television, phones or tablets should be permitted at the dinner table or in the dining room. Meal times should be spent at the table enjoying the food and conversation as a family. When children are enjoying a snack or meal they should not be mindlessly eating while watching television for example. This leads to over eating/not paying attention to hunger cues. Food is not entertainment.

Set time limitations that are strictly enforced.

Children need to be aware of the amount of time that they are permitted on electronic devices daily. Parents and caregivers need to be consistent when enforcing these limitations. When children understand what the limitations are and that they will be enforced, they are able to make a decision which television program or video game for example that they choose to play that day. This make them part of the process versus just randomly turning off the television and may prevent arguments and inspire compliance.

Encourage and support active hobbies and activities.

This starts at home. Children look to their parents to set an example and will mirror behaviors. Get outdoors and get active as a family. Take a walk after dinner, play catch after school/work and go swimming on the weekend. When children are having fun and enjoying themselves, they will continue to pursue these active activities and willingly put down their electronic devices. Aim for a minimum amount of recreation daily and make it a fun, enjoyable experience for the whole family.

(Credit: Celebrity and model trainer Heather Marr)