Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Myth: There aren’t any good ways to wean my children off of TV.

Boy sitting in front of TV
Answer: BUSTED!

National Screen-Free Week, May 5-11, may be just what your family needs. The average American watches 36 hours of TV a week – yikes! Start looking at your family’s screen habits now and think about how you can prepare for National Screen-Free Week to celebrate being ‘unplugged.’ Here are some ways to change these TV habits:

  • Instead of sitting in front of a screen, get the family together to come up with alternative activities. Spring is a good time to get away from the TV, computer and tablet screens because you can include both indoor and outdoor activities. Post the ideas on your refrigerator.
  • Take TVs out of bedrooms. 71% of 8 to 18-year-olds have a TV in their bedroom. Sleeping with the TV on can disrupt sleep and may make your child tired the next day at school.
  • Turn off the TV during meals and put away tablets and cell phones. Instead, ask everyone about their day.
  • Keep TV and computers off unless someone is using them.

For more ideas, see the MU Extension publication Play More, Watch Less (download a free PDF of this publication at the link provided).

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension,, 573-882-1933

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