Are your kids getting more screen time than playtime? From March 24 – 30, join other Canadian families who took the pledge to Unplug & Play for at least 60 minutes a day.
Unplug & Play is exactly as it sounds. Turn off your electronics (e.g., televisions, passive video games, smart phones, and tablets) and get some active play going. Why Unplug & Play? Research shows that children spend too much time in front of a screen (averaging almost
eight-hours per day) and not enough time moving, exploring, and actively playing.It’s recommended that kids get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. This means participating in activities such as playing tag, riding bikes, or climbing on the jungle gym at your local playground.
Not to date myself, but in the summer our family would cancel the cable subscription and our parents would encourage us to go outside and play. We did things like biking, playing freeze tag, and street basketball. We’d often involve the neighbours as well; the more the merrier! Sure we had TV in the winter time, but in moderation.
So as a parent what can you do?
- Eliminate television watching while doing homework or during family meals.
- If your child must have a cell phone, provide clear guidelines for its use. For example, restrict its use to emergencies only. Cell phone games and texting increases screen time and can become quite time consuming.
- While computer use is sometimes required for school homework, recreational computer screen time should be limited. Use computers for planning purposes such as researching nearby trails to hike, new playgrounds, or when the local soccer field is available!
- Be a good role model for your children. Purposefully reduce your own screen time and replace it with an equal amount of time being active.
- Phone the qualified exercise professionals at PAL (8-1-1) for physical activity ideas or check out ParticipACTION’s programs for active events your children can try out.
Being active is necessary for our children’s physical health, has a positive effect on grades, and is good for socialization. Let’s extend Unplug & Play into the whole year!