Summer Time Means… Outdoor Time

The amount of time that American children spend using TV/Computer/Video games varies according to which survey you read. However, it is agreed that the average American child practically lives plugged in.
You may already know your child needs to watch less TV and spend less time on the computer or playing video games– but you can use some ideas to make that happen. 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 a family game night, taking a walk, or maybe exploring a nearby park.

Be active with your children. Experts say that what kids want more than anything else is time with their parents. To give them that, don’t expect them to do that alone– go play with them!

Limit the availability of the television, computer and video access. Don’t position your furniture or arrange your rooms so that these items are the main focus.  Remember to avoid using television or video games 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.

Practice what you preach. Your kids won’t accept being restricted to television, video or computer access if they see you not putting this into practice yourself. The best way to influence your kids’ behavior is through example.

But what do you do with your kids once you get them offline and outdoors? For that information, turn to the National Wildlife Federation and its “Be Out There” campaign. Their effort helps parents to give their children a “green hour” each day.

Another possibility is camping. You don’t have to go to a campsite either. You can camp out in your own backyard. The website for the Great American Backyard Campout offers some suggestions.

Remember, you can do it! Be strong, have a plan and stick with it. The rewards will be worth it!