Green Your Kid: Trade Screen Time for Together Time
BY: Lynda Fassa
This summer was fairly relaxing and unstructured for my brood. With the exception of a couple of weekends away, we opted for a home-improvement-themed staycation instead of a big trip. And while all that time in the house guaranteed a well-rested start to the school year, it also fed some bad habits.
Time and time again, I’d find my kids -- and sometimes myself -- in front of one screen or another. Between video games, multi-tasking cell phones, television and computers, it sometimes seemed impossible to tear ourselves away from the magic flat-screens. But research and common sense says that too much is, well, too much.
Kids need one-on-one interaction with the people who love them the most -- their parents -- to be healthy and happy. If your family isn’t used to limits on screen time, it helps to come up with some guidelines. And remember: Adults will also benefit from time away from screens.
Try these super-simple ways to unplug and reconnect:
- Choose a realistic amount of screen time for each of your kids and be prepared to enforce these limits daily.
- Designate area in the home for screen-free activities. (Remember, the goal of less screen time is to have more time together.) If you don't have a whole room, even the kitchen table will do just fine.
- Schedule regular family nights (with no TV!). Stock up on age-appropriate games and activities that emphasize fun over competition. My family likes Jenga, Guess Who?, jigsaw puzzles and classic card games.
- You're not limited to sitting down! Get creative and get active. A game of charades is often hilarious and memorable. Or you can head outside for a family hike, relay race or bike ride.