Kids Watching Television: 20 Healthy Alternatives to Watching TV

Let’s face it, kids watching television too much is a scenario that is played out daily throughout the world. Most households have at least one television and more and more families have multiple televisions scattered throughout their home. But as parents, is this wise?

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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under the age of two should NOT be exposed to television and children over the age of two should watch no more than one to two hours a day of quality programming.

As our children develop in their early years, brain development is critical. Kids watching television in large and unhealthy doses lose out on activities that stimulate the brain. Activities that encourage creativity, motor skills, socialization, etc. are imperative to our children’s development and watching too much television is a detriment to their development.

As parents, it is easy to stick our children in front of the television as a babysitter to allow us uninterrupted time to complete a task or even take a break. Now, if the programming on the television is appropriate for their age (Sesame Street, etc.) then a little viewing is fine. What we want to avoid, though, is overexposure. It is critical our children learn to play and imagine and if our kids are watching TV all day, those important skills will not be honed.

If you suspect your kids and television are attached at the hip, the place to start is YOU. Unplug the television and structure the day so that your kids are doing activities that encourage creativity and brain development. Out of ideas? Try the ones listed below!

1) Plan a picnic

2) Ride bikes

3) Go to the park

4) Volunteer your time to a charity

5) Create art projects with creative materials you can find throughout your home

6) Take a nature walk and collect treasures your children find along the way

7) Go bird watching

8) Go to the zoo

9) Visit the library and read some good books

10) Write a book together and illustrate it

11) Visit a retirement home on a regular basis and develop friendships with the treasures that reside there.

12) Go ice-skating or roller-skating

13) Paint a picture or color

14) Bake cookies, a cake, or bread

15) Look at old family pictures and tell fun stories from your family history

16) Take pictures and create a scrapbook

17) Make crafts to give as gifts

18) Get some sidewalk chalk and have fun!

19)Go camping in your backyard- How fun!

20) Play board games

By utilizing some of these fun ideas, kids watching television will be able to see that fun is easy to have without the television creating more imaginative and creative children.

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