Editor’s note: The American Heart Association is a sponsor of Chambanamoms.
Summer is here! After a long winter, we’re all ready to relax and play in the sunshine. But it can be hard to keep your family active during summer break – the pull of TV and video games can be strong.
“We recommend that kids get no more than one to two hours or television, computer and video games each day,” said Dr. David Chan, pediatric cardiologist at Carle. “Making sure children are physically active – playing a sport, swimming, riding a bike – keeps them healthy now and helps to build the foundation for good health later in life.”
We know it’s not easy to get kids away from the computer, so here are some tips to make it easier and more fun:
Identify free times for activity during the week. Make time to get the whole family moving.
Make a plan to add physical activity to your daily routine. Have some age-appropriate alternatives to TV or video games after school. Make physical activity a regular part of your family’s schedule – you can even add it to the calendar!
Be active with your kids. Experts say that what kids want more than anything else is time with their parents. To give them that, don’t just send them out to play — go play with them!
Limit access to TV, computer, smartphone and video game time. Keep televisions or video game devices out of their bedrooms and avoid using TV time as a reward or punishment.
Practice what you preach. Your kids won’t accept being restricted to two hours of screen time if you can veg out for four hours. The best way to influence your kids’ behavior is by being a good role model.
All of these might sound easy enough; they just take a little thought and a lot of practice. Do what you can as often as you can.
Here are some ideas that your kids can do on their own or the whole family can do together:
- family game night
- shoot hoops or kick a soccer ball
- walk the dog
- explore a nearby park
- turn on some music and dance
You can do it! An active family is a healthy family. For more tips on keeping your family healthy, visit the American Heart Association’s website at www.heart.org.