TV - Considering Less TV Time for Your Child

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Many families enjoy watching a favourite television show or movie together. But too much time in front of the TV or computer can help make your child overweight and affect reading, schoolwork, and talking with family and friends. It cuts down on time for physical activity, such as sports or other outside play. The more TV kids watch, the more likely they are to eat unhealthy foods. Being physically active helps your child stay at a healthy weight. Less TV time means more family time together.

You may be thinking about limiting TV and computer time, but you are not sure how to begin. You also may not be sure if your family is ready for this change. Cutting back on TV does not mean watching no TV at all. It means being careful about what and how much your child watches. Making this kind of change can be hard, and it takes time. You do not have to make this change all at once. Even cutting back on some TV or computer time can help. Your child can spend that time riding a bike with friends or spending time with the family.

Remember that your doctor can offer information and support as you think about making this change.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How could you start to think about less TV?

  • Think about what watching less TV would mean for your child and your family. What are the pros and cons?
  • Ask yourself what your child would do with that free time.
  • If you were to change your child's viewing habits tomorrow, how would you begin?
  • You can make one or two changes and see how it works:
    • Remove the TV or computer from bedrooms.
    • Have family meals together, without the TV.
    • For 1 week, cut back by 1 hour a day the amount of time your child spends in front of the TV or computer.
    • Have your child spend that hour doing something physical. It could be taking a walk with you, doing active chores, or riding a bike with friends.
  • You may find after a while that your child does not mind watching less TV.
  • Remember that you can control how fast you make any changes. Making small, gradual changes to what and how much you watch on TV will help you and your child maintain this change. The decision to change and how you do it are up to you. You can find a way that works for your family.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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