Promoting Healthier TV Habits

Are you worried your child is watching too much TV? Wondering what effect TV will have on your child’s physical, social and mental development? With the right guidance and parental involvement, television can have a positive effect on your child’s development and health. Let Truestar show you how to promote healthier TV habits for your kids.

Consider the following facts:

• The average Canadian child watches 15.5 hours of TV each week.
• By high school graduation, the average teen will have spent more time watching television than in the classroom, according to the Canadian Pediatric Society.
• The prevalence of obesity is lowest among children who watch TV for one hour or less per day and highest among those who watch four or more hours of TV per day.

Here are some healthier ways for your child to tune into the tube:

• Parent-Approved shows: Make sure your child is watching programs that are approved by you. Try to eliminate shows with violence, sex and bad language.
• Show them the lesson: Most shows will have a value or lesson associated with the program. Discuss the lesson—sharing, caring, giving etc.—with your child to help their mental and social development. Engage in activities that will further develop the lesson shown in the program.
• Watch TV together: As much as possible, try to watch TV as a family. Avoid using TV as a babysitter.
• Explain the TV rules: It is important to explain the rules of watching TV in the home to caregivers, babysitters, grandparents etc. It would send mixed signals to kids if they were allowed to watch certain shows with certain people. Keep it consistent. Also, set rules for the TV, such as no TV until homework is done or do not eat with the TV on.

• Limit TV time: Daily television viewing should be limited to one hour or less for preschoolers and two hours or less for early school-aged children. The other time available should be used to get kids physically active such as getting them involved in after-school sports or taking walks as a family. The time could also be spent teaching skills such as reading, writing or drawing. Older kids should be given the opportunity to plan their own TV schedule with parental discretion. Encourage your child to analyze what they are watching and to discuss it with you.

• Be Aware of the advertisements: Television is used as a powerful tool for selling or promoting toys, products and unhealthy foods to kids. Discuss commercials and product placement with kids. Help them understand the media’s goals.
• Support good television: Write letters to networks to support good programs for kids. Also, you can be an advocate for responsible television programs. Contact the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

Be involved in your kid’s lives: Get them on the Truestar plan today! Delicious meals, kid-friendly exercises, vitamins for kids, sleep tips and a healthy attitude plan!