According to research from the Nielson Company, kids from ages two through eleven spend a total of two months every year watching TV, videos, and video games…not even counting the time they spend on computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.
National Screen-Free Week, formerly known as TV Turnoff Week, will be held September 18-24 and encourages parents to reflect on the types of electronics their children are using and how they benefit or take away from the quality of family life.
Five things you can do to decrease your family’s screen time:
- Reprioritize. Recognizing that not all screen time is negative, work as a family to set limitations and focus on quality programming.
- Relocate: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not having TVs, Internet connections or video games in kids’ bedrooms. Moving these activities to more central locations will also help you to monitor what your child is exposed to on a regular basis.
- Refocus. Use the time saved to do something fun as a family or take on a new project. Some fun alternatives to electronics can include working a puzzle, playing a board game or holding a fun “poker” night with pennies or candy as the “stakes.” Or, go for a walk in your neighborhood, stargaze or have a picnic. You can also teach your kids new skills such as how to ride a bike, skate, paint or sew.
- Reconnect. Rather than turning to Facebook or Twitter for your socializing, get together with friends and family in person. Open your home for a potluck dinner, pizza night or just a fun time to chat and reconnect with those in your life.
- Recharge. Use your screen-free time to just enjoy the quiet. Take a break from the constant stimulation, clear your mind, be creative and enjoy your time together.