Image courtesy Nazar_Ab

COVID shutdowns threw all our screen-time limits out of the window! How can I get my kid more active again?

First of all, don’t be so hard on yourself! Celebrate your family’s resiliency and that you are ready to make some changes. The best way to get your kids more active is to reset limits on screen time and make physical activity part of the family culture. Doing things together and making it routine are your best bets at creating long-lasting success.  

Let’s take a look at the current American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines as a foundation for your family’s plan. For infants and toddlers younger than 18 months, no screen time is recommended other than video chatting. For toddlers 18 months to 2 years of age, keep it under an hour, choose quality programming and watch together.  For children over 2, think one to two hours per day max.          

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 This time of year can make it challenging to get outside, but take advantage when you can and think about making a family walk, hike or bike ride part of the weekly routine. Trying out a new winter sport together like skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing can be a memorable bonding experience and may even become your new family favorite! If winter weather isn’t your jam, use screen time to your advantage and try video games that incorporate movement — like YouTube yoga and dance/cardio classes — or even have impromptu family dance parties during commercial breaks. To be successful, remember to reinforce that you are doing this together. Modeling reduced screen time yourself can go a long way toward getting your kids to buy into the new plan. Some great resources to get started are Common Sense Media and the AAP.  The AAP even has a great website for parents, healthychildren.org, that walks you through building a custom family media plan. The new year is a great opportunity for a fresh start. Let’s get moving!

Dr. Allison Baynham
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