SATURDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- Lots of parents would like to avoid having their kids spend the summer watching television or playing video games.
According to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, reducing the amount of time spent in front of a computer or TV can boost health and happiness, prompting families to do more physical activity and get creative in finding other ways to spend their time.
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The nonprofit organization, which was formed to combat childhood obesity, offered tips to cut down on screen time:
- Schedule screen time. Decide in advance what shows will be watched, what video games will be played or how much Internet time is allowed.
- Keep track. Have children write down the amount of time they spend in front of the TV or a computer screen. If they realize they are spending more time in front of a screen than they thought, they may be motivated to change their habits.
- Be positive. Set goals for reducing screen time and offer rewards for reaching them.
- Do something else. Go outside, join a club, play a sport, get a hobby.
- Designate screen-free time. Don't turn on the TV first thing in the morning. Turn off the TV during dinner. Instead, eat outside or have a family talk. Remove electronics from bedrooms.
- Put electronics away. Try storing all electronics in one room for an entire day and not touching them, or cover screens to help you forget about them.
- Read instead. Take the kids to the library. Allow children to stay up 15 minutes past their bedtime as a reward for reading.
-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
SOURCE: Alliance for a Healthier Generation, news release, July 5, 2012
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