Trade Screen Time for Together Time
This summer was fairly relaxing and unstructured for my brood. With the exception of a couple of weekends away, we opted for a home-improvement-themed staycation instead of a big trip. And while all that time in the house guaranteed a well-rested start to the school year, it also fed some bad habits.
Time and time again, I’d find my kids -- and sometimes myself -- in front of one screen or another. Between video games, multi-tasking cell phones, television and computers, it sometimes seemed impossible to tear ourselves away from the magic flat-screens. But research and common sense says that too much is, well, too much.
Kids need one-on-one interaction with the people who love them the most -- their parents -- to be healthy and happy. If your family isn’t used to limits on screen time, it helps to come up with some guidelines. And remember: Adults will also benefit from time away from screens.
Try these super-simple ways to unplug and reconnect:
Choose a realistic amount of screen time for each of your kids and be prepared to enforce these limits daily.
Designate area in the home for screen-free activities. (Remember, the goal of less screen time is to have more time together.) If you don't have a whole room, even the kitchen table will do just fine.
Schedule regular family nights (with no TV!). Stock up on age-appropriate games and activities that emphasize fun over competition. My family likes Jenga, Guess Who?, jigsaw puzzles and classic card games.
You're not limited to sitting down! Get creative and get active. A game of charades is often hilarious and memorable. Or you can head outside for a family hike, relay race or bike ride.
Lynda Fassa is the founder of Green Babies, an organic-cotton baby clothing company, and the author of two books (Green Babies, Sage Moms and Green Kids, Sage Families).
Available at Amazon.com:
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