With the increased popularity of iPads, laptops, Smart phones, etc. it’s no wonder kids are spending more and more time in front of a screen. What ever happened to playing outside until the street lights came on?! Unfortunately, with the increase in sedentary activity, healthy habits tend to be reduced. Here are some tips on how to promote a healthier, screen-free routine for your kids and family:
𝟏. Create screen-free mealtimes. Eating in front of a TV or phone leads to the consumption of highly processed food and drinks and more mindless eating. Set this boundary at meal time and allow the family to socialize and enjoy meals together.
𝟐. Structure family activities around exercise. Instead of planning for a movie and pizza night every Friday, what about switching it up with a family walk or bike ride? You could set up a picnic in the back yard or even go on a nature adventure in a nearby park or conservation area.
𝟑. Have equipment ready to be played with. When there are balls, frisbees, skipping ropes, bikes and sidewalk chalk available, kids are more likely to use these and get outside. It may even entice friends and family members to join in on the fun!
𝟒. Keep the screens out of the bedroom. It’s no surprise that having a TV, phone or computer close to your bed will result in using it. The blue light from these screens can disrupt sleep, which ultimately has a negative impact on energy levels, appetite and hormones. Keep the devices in common areas like the living room or den.
Take this process one step at a time to promote healthy behaviours. Maybe you implement one screen-free day per week or have one night that the family goes for a walk instead of watching TV after dinner. Use these strategies as stepping stones to further plans.