Healthy Children - June 2013


Avoid Being a Family of Sofa Slugs

Here’s Why It’s Important...

A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that children six and under spend three times more each day with screen media (TV, videos/DVDs, computer, and video games) than reading or being read to. In addition, screen media are being used for about the same amount of time as playing outside, approximately two hours per day. The study also found that 30% of 0 - 3 year olds and 43% of 4 - 6 year olds have a television in their bedroom.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under the age of 2 should not watch television at all and children 2 and older should watch no more than 1 - 2 hours of educational, nonviolent programs a day.

Our children Are Spending Way Too Much Time in Front of the Television!

Too much TV promotes an inactive lifestyle and has been linked to overweight. When children are watching TV or sitting in front of a computer, they are usually inactive and their gross motor needs are not being met, which is critical for very young children. Children, infants, and toddlers learn best through relationships, interactions, and experiences, not through media exposure.


Choices You Can Make for Your Child

  • Turn off the TV! When it is off, children won’t watch it.
  • Limit TV viewing: set rules and guidelines for the whole family.
  • Pick education videos/TV shows for your child.
  • Watch TV with your child and discuss the show during commercials.
  • Record TV shows to limit advertising.
  • Avoid using TV as a baby sitter; instead, involve your children in daily household activities.
  • Set a good example: watch TV after your child goes to bed.


Rules for TV

  • Eat meals as a family without the TV on.
  • If it is sunny outside, no TV! Your child will learn to appreciate the outdoors and will begin to choose this over TV.
  • Set a time limit per day and per week. Example: 30 minutes per day and six hours a week (more time allowed for the weekend). Your child can save up time to use another day.
  • Chores must be completed before the TV comes on.


Instead of Turning the TV On

  • Play together as a family.
  • Dance to music.
  • Read a book together.
  • Look at a picture book/magazine.
  • Tell stories and act them out.
  • Set up an obstacle course inside or outside and take turns going through it.
  • Go on a family treasure hunt in the backyard or in your neighborhood.
  • Go to a local museum.
  • Do crafts.
  • Take a walk around the neighborhood.
  • Explore a nearby forest or wooded area.
  • Go to the library for story time.
  • Make dinner together.
  • Create an active outdoor game with your child.
  • Go to a local park or zoo.
  • Teach your child a new gross motor skill, such as riding a bike or skipping rope.


For more information, please visit:,, and