Setting Limits on Sitting Time

Monday, April 22, 2013

Technology has a lot to offer kids. But time spent with technology often means more sitting and less moving.  Cell phones, tablets, video games, and TV may be keeping your children from getting enough physical activity.  

Setting―and sticking to―limits on technology time can be difficult. But limits can be important for making sure your kids stay active.  

“Because I said so” isn’t good enough
If unplugging, even for a short time each day, is new for your kids, they probably won’t be too happy about it. Let them know why you think setting limits on time with technology is important. Maybe you’re concerned that they aren’t getting their homework done because of too many distractions. Perhaps you’re worried they aren’t getting enough time playing and being active. Talk to them about the health benefits of physical activity. When your kids know why you’re making rules, they may have an easier time following them.

Give them a say
Get the kids involved in making decisions and rules about technology time. Let them know their voices are heard. If you find you are at opposite ends of the technology issue, meet them somewhere in the middle. Being willing to listen to their perspective could open the door to better communication with your children on other issues too.   

Revisit the rules
Try out the new rules for a while. Plan to check in with yourself and your children at a specific time to talk about what’s working and what isn’t. If some of the rules aren’t working, try to figure out why. Talk with your kids about how to change the rules so they work better with your lives. Keep the conversation going.
Make it fun
Make a family game out of setting limits on technology. Try a family contest to see who can come up with the best ideas for how to spend one hour without technology. Or start by having the kids write down what they will miss about technology time. After they’ve lived with the new limits for a week, ask them what they’ve done with their extra time. Post the new list on the fridge.
Get active
Use the extra time without technology to get moving together. Head to a local park or go for a bike ride. Or stay indoors for a fun family dance party. 



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