Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wellness Wednesday - Shut it off!

A couple of facts for you:

Did you know that two thirds of American adults are overweight or obese?

Did you know that school aged kids spend an average of 7.5 HOURS A DAY in front of a screen?

Even BABIES log an average of 2 hours of screen time per day (even though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time at all for kids under 2.)

I have found that I can slip into these stats myself once I really start counting how many hours of screen time my five year old gets.

I can't help but feel that the facts listed above are connected. As a nation, we're fat and lazy. Kids hardly have imaginations anymore. I'm all for keeping them updated with technology, but we need to shut the televisions, computers, and gaming systems OFF sometimes.

Kids need to get off the couch and run around and play, create imaginary worlds, and build with blocks. They need to exercise their bodies, minds and motor skills without the aid of a screen to entertain them. By not allowing kids quiet time, studies show that the consequences are obesity, difficulty paying attention, difficulty making friends, lack of imagination, lower grades in school. and more aggression.

Furthermore, the quality of the television our kids watch disgusts me at times. I'll just say it (even though it's no secret to my friends who know me and love me anyway), I can't stand shows like Sponge Bob, Hannah Montana, and iCarly. They lack all educational value and throw stuff at our young kids that they don't need to be focused on, like dating, panty raids, and push up bras...all of which I've seen myself when watching.

Studies also show that kids who watched small amounts of EDUCATIONAL television were better readers and students in general. They also got higher grades as teenagers than those who watched television shows geared toward entertainment.

Ok, I'm on my soap box here...forgive me. We all raise our kids differently - I realize that. I allow my Kindergartner to watch PBS and the occasional Phineas and Ferb...maybe even Sponge Bob in a rare and weak moment. I don't want to shelter my kids so that they hate me and run off to do all the things that were forbidden as soon as they are smart enough to sneak around. That's why I try to compromise here and there. But, we've been shutting off the television more, talking about why we don't watch/listen to certain shows and music, and trying to focus on creative play.

The result? A much quieter and peaceful house.

My recommendation for the health of your family? Enjoy screen time. It's no secret I'm obsessed with my computer! But, put it away for a little while today. Try to cut back on the screen time while increasing your communication with your family. Really, nothing bad can come of it right?

Below is Hannah at around 10 months old! GUILTY! But at least it's educational!

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