Parents and carers should establish rules that limit children's "screen time" by limiting their time on the computer, watching TV, and playing video games. Time spent in front of a screen could be better spent engaging in more physical activity.

  • Consult with Your Family

Explain to children the importance of moving more and sitting less in order to stay healthy. Experts recommend no more than two hours of computer or television time per day, unless it's for work or homework. Children under the age of two should not watch television at all. Don't use TV time as a reward or punishment; doing so makes TV appear even more important to children.

  • Establish Screen Time Limits and Set a Good Example

Make it a daily rule to limit screen time to one to two hours. More importantly, make sure the rule is followed. You must also set a good example by limiting your screen time to no more than two hours per day. When your children see you following your own rules, they are more likely to follow suit.

  • Track screen time vs active time

Track your family's screen and active time to get a sense of what changes might be needed in your home. To begin, keep track of how much time your family spends in front of a screen, including activities such as watching TV and movies, playing video games, and using the computer (outside of school or work). Then consider how much time the family spends doing physical activities together, such as walking, doing active chores, or participating in sports. If you notice that your family spends more time watching TV than being active, sit down as a family and set goals to increase your physical activity.

  • Keep Moving During Screen Time

Do something active when you spend time in front of a screen. Stretch, do yoga poses, go for a treadmill walk, or lift weights. During commercials, challenge the family to see who can do the most push-ups or jumping jacks.

  • Recognize TV Commercials

Seeing snack foods, candy, soda, and fast food advertised on television has an impact on all of us, especially children. Help children understand that just because something is on TV or one of their favourite TV characters eats or drinks it doesn't mean it's healthy.

  • Make your bedrooms screen-free

Do not place a television or computer in your child's bedroom. Kids with TVs in their rooms watch about 1.5 hours more TV per day than those without. Furthermore, having a television in their bedroom can prevent children from spending time with the rest of the family.

  • Offer alternatives

Watching television can become a habit, making it easy to lose sight of what else is available. Provide children with ideas and alternatives, such as playing outside, picking up a new hobby, or learning a sport.

  • During meals, prioritise family time

Family meals are an excellent opportunity for communication. So, during meals, turn off the television. Better yet, if you have a TV in your dining area, turn it off. According to research, families who eat together tend to eat more nutritious meals. Make family meals a priority and try to have them at least two to three times per week. Start with breakfast; it's a great way to begin the day.

  • Find the best sports go-to place

You would only want the best for your child as a parent. Finding the right place where all of your children's needs will be met is one thing; making schedules work is another. Bringing those two together can be difficult for most parents.

  • Explore your options

Allow your child to explore their options if they do not appear to be interested enough! Instead of traditional sports, consider introducing less common ones such as martial arts or gymnastics. Perhaps simply allowing them to participate in a trial class will change their minds and pique their interest!