Flip the Switch this Summer


Experts say that kids need at least 60 minutes of activity or more a day--we've got tips to get your kids moving. Screen time is not just TV, it includes watching DVD'??s, playing video games or surfing the Internet. All that time in front of a screen limits physical activity and can pack on the pounds as well as the lack of creativity. Now that summer vacation is here it'??s time to start to create a healthier balance between screen time and activity for your entire family.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a national non-profit founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation to combat childhood obesity, has helped us out:

Check Yourself: Be aware of how much screen time you and your children are getting, and set limits for the entire family. You'??ll be amazed how much extra time you '??find'? when you turn off the TV or computer. Make sure you turn off the TV during mealtime and have the family take turns talking about their day.

Play It Down: Using screen time to reward or punish a child makes it seem more important than it is. Use praise, encouragement and recognition for physical activity and make screen time a nonevent in your home.

Work It Out: Use the TV to watch a video '?? try dancing, tae kwon do or yoga. You can also encourage your kids to jumping jacks, pushups or crunches during the commercial breaks of their favorite shows.

Provide Other Options:Don'??t just rely on screen time for entertainment, instead help your child find other things to do. Take you kids to the park, play outside with them, offer alternatives or help them learn a new sport.

Cut the Cord:
Take the TVs and computers out of your kid'??s bedrooms. Children who have TV in their rooms spend almost 1-1 ½ hours more each day watching them than their peers.

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