My toddler always wants to watch TV or play video games after child care. Do you have any suggestions on how to increase his physical activity?
Today our children are growing up in the era of technology. Instead of playing outside after school, children are excited to come home and watch their favorite TV shows or play the latest video games. Unfortunately, all of this technology has significantly decreased our children’s play and physical activity. To reduce screen time try some of these suggestions:
- Remove TV, computer, and other electronics from your child’s bedroom
- Do not watch TV during meals or homework time
- Do not use the TV for “background” noise, try playing music instead!
- Chose which programs you will watch ahead of time and turn the TV off when the program is over
To help your child become more active, try one or more of the following:
- Play with your child!
- Play or make up a game that requires movement (think “tag,” “Simon says,” “Red Light, Green Light,” etc.)
- Enroll your child in an organized sport (soccer, t-ball, gymnastics, the options are endless)
- Turn on some music and dance!
- Create an obstacle course and challenge your child to beat their best time.
- Invite your child’s friends over and encourage outdoor play.
- Ask your child to teach you any active games he/she played in school that day.
Also, recognize that inactive time does not have to mean TV time– try reading a book with your child or allowing your child to play leisurely with toys. Current recommendations state that children less than 2 should not have access to TV, computers, or other screen time. And for children 2+ it is recommended that screen time be limited to 2 hours per day or less.
Physical activity is extremely important as it will help your child stay healthy and can provide an outlet for them to release their energy. Increased physical activity can even make your child a better student! By releasing their energy through active play, your child may be able to focus more in school or on homework. So get your child off the couch and be an active role model! Chances are if your child sees you having fun while being active, they will want to be more active as well!
For more information and ideas for active play, check out: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/preschoolers/physical-activity.html