Many families are in the habit of coming home from work or school and sitting down to relax in front of the TV and it’s an easy habit to adopt. However, this habit often backfire quickly as people who spend too much time sitting and watching TV are at a higher risk of becoming obese and dealing with obesity related health issues. Kids also benefit from being active, both mentally and physically, so it’s important to get them used to living healthy habits.
The following are some tips for healthy family time:
Limit TV time and time spent playing video games
Far too many people spend entirely too much time on the couch watching TV or playing video games. This isn’t the best habit to instill in your children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children spend no more than two hours a day in front of the TV set.
Be creative about how you limit TV time. For example, have everyone pick one show or movie to watch and that’s their TV time. You might also choose a couple of days each week where the TV stays off. Another suggestion would be for every minute your kids spend in front of the TV or playing video games, they have to spend the same amount of time outside playing.
Set rules regarding TV viewing such as no TV during meals or until homework is finished and make both non-negotiable. This will limit TV watching and video game playing time and it gets your family off the couch and involved in healthier activities.
You’re off the couch…now what?
Some people spend a lot of time on the couch and in front of the TV because they don’t know what else to do. The following are some ideas for healthy family activities:
• See what’s going on in your community. The summertime is a great time to go to fairs, festivals, outdoor concerts and other family-oriented activities. Check your local paper or town website and see what’s going on in your community. Many of these events are free, making it a great way to get active and enjoy fresh air.
• Explore local trails and parks. Most communities have community walking or biking trails which are great for family bike rides or walks. Find a trail map so you know where the trails are then go look for some in your area and, once you find one you like, make it a habit to use it regularly. Visiting a park is a great way to get some healthy family time. Pick a nice day so you can chase the kids around, throw Frisbees or play on the equipment, and then have a picnic on the grass.
• Model healthy behavior. Often, when you’re trying to change habits, it takes one person to set the example. If you are excited about getting and staying active and encourage your family to join you, chances are your family will follow suit.
Getting and staying active makes for a healthier and happier family and it lowers your risk for contracting illnesses or having weight-related medical issues. Keep workouts and family activities creative and your family will stay fit and engaged. These are just a few tips for healthy family time away from the couch.