Welcome to all of my email newsletter readers! I trust you have taken the time to read through some or all of the posts below, and that this site will help make a big difference in your future health.

This is the fourth tip in a series for families starting back to school. And today, I want to focus on “screen time.” Screen time is the amount of time that a person watches television or a monitor. Whether it be video games, television, videos or the computer (non-academic use), excessive amounts of time in front of the screen may lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and sleeping problems to name a few. This is a good time to make a decision on the amount of time that will be allowed per day during the school week as well as on the weekend.

Below are recommendations from www.truceteachers.org. Stay tuned for further tips for back-to-school

  • Help children develop thoughtful and responsible media viewing habits.
    ?Limit screen time. Decide together how much is okay each day or week. (With young children, start with the least amount that can work with your schedule and your child’s).
  • Set guidelines about what is appropriate viewing in your family. Apply guidelines to all media: TV, cartoons, videos, movies, video games, magazines and comic books. Help children select programs within your family’s guidelines.
  • Protect children from exposure to inappropriate media as much as possible. Be aware of what you are watching when your child is able to hear or see it.
  • Teach your child to ask to watch television before being allowed to turn it on.
  • Get TVs, video game systems and computers out of children’s bedrooms.
  • Make a chart (with simple picture illustrations for non-readers) of shows which your children want to watch and which you can agree are good choices. Check the chart regularly to help you discuss how things are going.
  • Watch TV and movies with your children and talk together about what you see. Aim for a give-and-take discussion rather than a lecture where you give the answers. Listen carefully, find out their ideas and fears, clear up misconceptions and share your ideas and concerns.
  • Use media to spark your child’s imagination and creativity. You can ask questions like: if you wrote the story, how would you change the ending? Would you add new characters? What would they look or act like?
  • Encourage and support children’s interests and skills beyond electronic media.
  • Balance electronic media with playtime – encourage your kids to go outside and be active.
  • Promote creative and imaginative play which children control, instead of play that looks like they are imitating what they see on the screen.
  • Encourage children’s play as a way to help them work out their own ideas and develop a sense of mastery. [Use the TRUCE Toy Action Guide available at www.truceteachers.org].
  • Help children resist marketing; choose toys carefully.
  • Provide play materials that can be used in man
  • Limit the number of highly realistic toys and other products (such as lunch boxes, tee shirts and breakfast cereals) that are linked to TV programs.
  • Avoid media-linked toys, especially those connected to media rated for older children or adults.
  • Find appealing non-TV activities for your family.
  • Read to your child and go to the library. It’s the best way you can build their literacy skills and help them establish a love of books.
  • Have art supplies readily available and accessible for your children to use.
  • Play age-appropriate board games