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We all know that kids of this generation are spending more and more time looking at screens. Whether it’s TV’s, computers, smart phones, or tablets, the bottom line is that all screens can have essentially the same kinds of negative effects on our kids. Even though we know kids are spending a significant amount of time staring at screens, do we actually know how much time? Most importantly, are we really aware of all of the ways that “screen time” is impacting our kids?

Too much screen time increases the risk of:

  • Sleeping difficulties and insomnia
  • Attention difficulties and other behavior problems
  • Increased anxiety and social isolation
  • Inactivity and obesity
  • Impeded creativity
  • Lower GPA in school

Consider helping your kids unplug by experimenting with some of the following ideas.

1) Model the behavior

  • Try to unplug when spending time with your kids – face time is invaluable
  • Cut off all TV, movies, computer games, texting, tweeting, etc. at least 2 hours before bedtime for everyone in the house

2) Creativity hour

  • Arts & crafts
  • Create games out of household items
  • Make up songs or play musical instruments
  • Be interactive with your kids when they share their ideas and creations

3) Get outside

  • Kids can be great helpers in the garden
  • Throw a Frisbee or shoot some hoops
  • Go for a walk around the block or a nearby body of water if available

4) Read

  • Both group and individual reading exercises can be both fun and educational

5) Exercise

  • Indoor / outdoor exercise does not have to be a boring chore; dancing and playing are just a couple of fun ways to increase our heart rates and sweat it out, while feeding our souls at the same time!

The more we can do to help our kids to unplug, the better the quality of life will be for the whole household. Try to limit screen time for kids to less than 2 hours per day if possible — keeping in mind that sometimes this may be difficult, particularly if there are school assignments that need to be done. Just remember, the more time kids spend “plugged in,” the less time they spend interacting with others and allowing their beautiful and creative minds to expand and grow.

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