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Canadian kids spend more time in front of screens each week than their parents spend at work

Feb 26, 2015
written by: Catherine Cameron
written by: Catherine Cameron
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It’s time to power down and get our kids moving – not just today, but every day. Did you know Canadian kids spend an average of 7 hours and 48 minutes a day in front of screens? As ParticipACTION tells us, this adds up to more time over the course of a week than their parents spend at work.

According to Canadian Pediatrician, Dr. Dina Kulik, “there is plenty of evidence that kids should be active at least 60 minutes a day for optimum health”. In fact, research tells us kids who get at least an hour of daily physical activity or active play, are better behaved, sleep better, and perform better in school.  “In this age of multiple screens, we see far too much obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes in even young children,” says Dr. Kulik, who advises parents to swap some screen time for outdoor play, a family walk, or a trip to the playground.

As a parent, I understand some of the challenges other parents face in reducing screen time and helping their children to get moving. In posts I wrote for ParticipACTION, I shared one creative way I got my youngest daughter moving, and urged parents to put down their devices as one means of carving out quality time with their kids. In a future post, I’m planning to share how my youngest daughter’s interest in tennis, sparked my own return to the game a few years ago, and how tennis has brought our family closer, reduced our screen time, and helped us to be more active.

In the meantime, if your kids spend too much time in front of screens (the odds are very high they do) try some of the following tips:

  • Remove TVs and computers from children’s bedrooms
  • Encourage your child to participate in active after-school programs or to play outdoors with friends instead of turning on the TV or playing video games
  • Be an active role model for your kids. Active parents have more active children
  • Find time every day to be active as a family – even if it’s only 30 minutes
  • Tell babysitters you’d like your children to enjoy active play instead of screen time
  • Limit screen time to no more than two hours a day, allowing children to select a favorite TV show or video game
  • Shut down your computer or phone and talk about the importance of unplugging and setting limits – there’s so much more to life!
  • Get back to basics: active play, a connection with nature, family time, community involvement – these activities can help us be happier and healthier.

Cheers to all,

Catherine Cameron
Active Living Ambassador & Senior Writer, Tennis Canada