When children spend time outside, they improve their imaginations and creativity, strengthen their immune systems, gain greater respect for themselves and others, and decrease levels of stress, hyperactivity and risk of obesity. These benefits are true for you, too. Playing outside is fun, free and easy – just open the backdoor.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time (TV, computers, video games, tablets or cell phones) for children under age two, and fewer than two hours of screen time per day for children two and older. However, research finds that 64 percent of babies and toddlers are watching an average of two hours of screen time per day, and 36 percent have a television in their bedroom by their second birthday.
The results are clear: Screen time is habit-forming and linked to obesity, difficulties with attention and hyperactivity, school performance problems, and emotional and conduct problems.
Televisions and computers should be kept out of all bedrooms, and should not be on during meal times.
There are so many easy and fun ways to move, play and be active as a family. Even simply taking a walk after dinner (instead of dessert) or playing outside in the sun or snow can make a huge difference in the health of your family and decrease your chances for obesity, diabetes and other complications related to an inactive lifestyle. Get out and walk to the store, walk the dog, play catch, dance to music during commercial breaks, spend time together and have fun as a family.
Come together as a family to make goals and track your activity levels, screen time and nutrition. Check your progress on reaching your goals and improving your health.
The Dish+Dash is a great way for you to receive regular reminders via email of fun and easy ways to improve the health of your family. Tips include fun activities, healthy recipes, and reminders about upcoming community events.
Figuring out where to start on the path towards improving the health of your family can be overwhelming. Losing weight, being more active, changing old habits – these things don’t just change overnight. And that’s OK. Focus on taking small steps each day, and before long you’ll be on your way.