Couch Tots Grow Into Couch Potatoes...
Seriously, we practically LIVED outdoors when we were kids, didn’t we?! I don’t think I could have told you ANY television shows that were on during the day… not counting Saturday morning cartoons, of course.
Of course, parents have the extra hurdle of getting their kids away from, not just television, but also computers, iPads, iPhones, etc.
Experts recommend that kids get no more than two hours per day of “screen time” (tv, computer, and/or video games). Most kids, however, average more than 4 hours a day.
Below are tips from the American Heart Association to get your kid(s) up and moving. Couch tots grow up to be couch potatoes, and neither are particularly healthy as a result.
- Suggest and Offer alternative activities. Have a “Family Game Night,” shoot some hoops, go for walks, or visit a nearby park.
- Become active with your kids. Play with them rather than just watch them!
- Don’t position your furniture so that the TV is the main focus of the room.
- Remove TVs from bedrooms.
- Plan TV watching in advance. Go through the TV guide ahead of time and pick the shows you’ll watch. When the show’s off, turn the TV off.
I love the one about playing with your kids. I’ve had some of my best times in trees, on swings, and inside blanket tents with my girls. You haven’t lived until you’ve played Barbies or paper dolls beneath a tent that spans the entire space of your living room or den. My daughter Brittany was a MASTER tent builder!
One thing I would suggest is this: If your child already has a certain number of shows that he/she watches faithfully – it may not be what the experts suggest, but I’d suggest not rocking the boat. Instead, how about buying a stationary bike or treadmill and tell them that (in an effort to make the family healthier) you want everyone to exercise at least 30 minutes everyday. Place it right in front of the television! Then you can suggest that they do it during a favorite show. Before you know it, they’ll be hopping on and working out throughout the day – and getting more and more all important exercise.
If you try to take a show away from someone who watches it and enjoys it, I think you’d just be asking for a battle. Tensions will arise and what you’re trying to suggest (exercise/activity) will suddenly become the enemy.
You want the activity to be fun and positive, you don’t want it (or yourself!) to be the enemy. Just think how you’d feel if someone told you, even if it were for your own good, that you couldn’t watch your favorite television shows or sports again.
I believe if anyone told me I had to give up watching Animal Planet, the History Channel, or baseball I’d throw a pillow at them.
Probably two pillows.
If a treadmill or stationary bike is out of reach (I understand the whole out of reach thing as much as anyone.) – an exercise mat, a few dumbbells, and/or an exercise ball can also do wonders.
Zoos are another fun way to get your kids, and yourself, out and about. If you’re lucky enough to live near one, you should become a familiar face to the monkeys, tigers, lions, bears, and even the reptiles.
The best way to get your kids to become more active is to lead by example. If they see your life revolving around “screen time,” they’ll assume that’s the cool thing to do. Get moving and get grooving – your entire family will be better off.