Experts recommend that kids get no more than 1–2 hours of TV/computer/video games a day -- most kids get 4-6 hours. You know your child needs to watch less TV but you're dreading the screaming, yelling and crying that may follow. First and foremost, remember YOU are the parent. You run the show; part of your job is to set limits. Here are some ideas about how to limit your kid's sedentary time.
- Have a plan. Be prepared to offer alternative activities to TV or video games. You might consider family game night, shooting some hoops, walking the dog or exploring a nearby park.
- Be active with your kids. Experts say that what kids want more than anything else is time with their parents. To give them that, don't just send them out to play -- go play with them!
- Limit tube time. Don't position your furniture so the TV is the main focus of the room. Remove televisions from bedrooms. And remember to avoid using TV as a reward or punishment.
- Plan TV watching in advance. Go through the TV guide and pick the shows you want to watch. Turn the TV on for those shows and turn it off afterwards. Don't just watch whatever comes on next.
- Practice what you preach. Your kids won't accept being restricted to two hours of TV watching if you can veg out for four hours. The best way to influence your kids' behavior is through example.
Remember, you can do it! Be strong, have a plan and don't back down. Your child's health is worth fighting for.
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