Ask Ginger: Reducing Screen Time at Home
You've got questions ... we’ve got answers! Email your queries about healthy foods, physical activity and screen time for kids and Ginger will answer them here on the Phipps blog.
Q: Screen Free Week has just passed — what are some things my family and I can do to continue reducing our screen time at home? (Sarah, Hazelwood)
A: Great question! For those of you who may not know, Screen Free Week is an annual event during the first week of May that is used to encourage families, communities and schools to enjoy the week unplugged.1 Your involvement in Screen Free Week can be as simple at limiting your screen time at home or as involved as organizing events in your classroom, school or office! You can learn more about Screen Free Week at screenfree.org.
The screen time recommendations that Let’s Move Pittsburgh follows are: no screen time for children under the age of 2, one hour of educational TV/computer time between ages 2 and 5, and two hours or less of screen time after the age of 5. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that parents and caregivers should place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.2 Now for some ideas!
Tame the TV and Computer
- Set limits — know how much TV your child is watching.
- Set some basic rules, such as no TV or computer before homework is done.
- Do not watch TV during meal time.
- Use a timer. When the bell rings, it’s time to turn off the TV or computer.
- Eliminate TV time during the week.
Plan Viewing in Advance
- Keep books, magazines and board games in the family room.
- Make a list of fun activities to do instead of being in front of a screen.
- Set family guidelines for age-appropriate shows.
Try these activities instead of using a screen:
- Ride a bike.
- Go on a nature hike.
- Complete a puzzle.
- Turn on music and dance.
- Read a book or magazine — try one from our 5-2-1-0 Reading List!
- Spend time catching up with your family.
- Go to the park.
- Play board games or charades.
- Visit your local branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
- Visit a local museum, zoo or botanical garden.