Fix Your Screen Time Woes

Having trouble tearing your kids away from their screens? Try these solutions.

Bed time troubles - Try these ideas for a smoother bed time:

  • Have kids hand in cell phones, iPods and other portable electronics an hour before bed time.
  • Shut off the wireless router an hour before bed time.
  • Shut off the TV, computer and video games an hour before bed time.

Trouble setting limits - If you're looking for a new way to make your screen time rules stick, try these suggestions:

  • Give each child a stash of poker or bingo chips to represent their screen time for the week. Offer to buy back any unused chips at the end of the week.
  • Use the Xbox 360 family time feature to control how long kids play on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Stop using the TV as background noise. Turn on the radio or play some music instead.

Making the switch - As the Bansleys have learned, reducing screen time doesn't automatically mean increased physical activity. Try these ideas for making the switch:

  • Ask your kids for 30 minutes of physical activity before any screen time.
  • Make a re:activity idea jar and have the kids pick an activity when they're bored.
  • Make sure you have fun, active alternatives available.

How much is too much? Experts recommend:

  • no more than 2 hours a day of screen time for kids 5 and up
  • no more than an hour a day for 2-4 year olds
  • no screen time for children under two

See Canada's Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines.