Back In The Day
When I was a little girl, I remember jumping rope, riding my bike, playing in the sandbox, playing with my dolls and opening up my imagination until the sun went down. I am sure I was bored at times but for the most part I don’t remember boredom at all. My imagination was open to wonder and explore my surroundings. I would get lost for hours playing with my Barbie’s or making mud pies. It was the simple things that made me happiest. Somewhere during my childhood “Pac Man” came along as fun and it didn’t eat up much of my time. Besides watching “Flintstones” at lunch time, I don’t remember watching much TV as a kid.
Requests That Stress
Today I find it a huge challenge and a constant battle, fighting off every request I get “Can we watch Netflix?” or, “Mommy I have been good today can I play the game?” It is actually something that stresses me out completely. I have never had “screen children” and I don’t want that for my kids. However, there is something addicting about “the screen” that they cannot get enough of. This addiction causes mommy stress and sends emotions flying from all angles. Plus, with smart boards in each of their school classrooms, our kids are coming home and talking about the YouTube channel they watched, or the documentary they saw at school. Don’t get me wrong, you can learn a lot from a screen, but everything in moderation is the key to bigger success in life.
This Christmas our son asked for a very popular game for our families called Wii. He got that game from Santa and of course, what is a game from Santa if you cannot play it? Mommy and Daddy let screen time increase a little over the holidays for him and his siblings to really enjoy some time with the new game. We even got in there and enjoyed some rounds with the kids. I will tell you the kids’ emotions turned high strung and sibling rivalry was at an all-time high. We had to intervene, and since Christmas the game has maybe been played for a maximum of five hours in total. The evidence was clearly placed in front of us, and the effects of increased screen time were negative.
Did you know?
The average Canadian child spends 7 hours and 48 minutes a day in front of screens – that’s almost a 40-hour work week.  However, only 54 per cent of parents are concerned about the screen-time habits of their children. Too much screen time can make it hard for a child to sleep at night, raise a child’s risk of attention problems, and leave less time for active, creative play.
The good news – 87 per cent of parents say they plan to make physical activity a priority for their children in the New Year, and ParticipACTION’s Make Room for Play campaign offers a great opportunity to help parents get their children more active.
ParticipACTION’s Make Room for Play campaign includes a series of four 30-second videos running on television, in cinema and online, supported by digital ads, social media and tips and tools for parents and caregivers.
Make Room For Play with Hockey
Are you looking for ways to reduce screen time and increase play time in your home?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Make family rules that limit how much screen time your kids are allowed each day.
- Eliminate background TV as it’s likely to draw your child’s attention. Instead, turn on music.
- Set a good example and limit your own screen time.
- For younger children, avoid using screens as an “electronic babysitter”.
- For older children, don’t allow a TV, computer, or cell phone in your child’s bedroom.
How are you going to #MakeRoomforPlay today?
Visit www.makeroomforplay.com for more ways to take action and make room for play.
Thank you for reading In R Dream!
From December 22 to December 29, 2014, an online survey was conducted among a sample of 1005 Canadian adults age 18+ who are parents of children 0-12 years old and are also Angus Reid Forum panel members. The margin of error — which measures sampling variability — is +/-3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The sample was balanced by age of child to provide equal representation. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.
Active Healthy Kids Canada (2012). Is Active Play Extinct?: The Active Healthy Kids Canada report card on physical activity for children and youth 2012, Toronto, ON.
Tremblay, MS, et al. (2011). Systematic review of sedentary behavior and health indicators in school-aged children and youth. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2011, 8:98 doi:10.1186/1479-5868-8-98.