Reduce Screen Time and Get Active!

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Article written by Cami Wells (cami.wells@unl.edu), MS, RD, Nebraska Extension Educator

Screen time is any time spent playing video, computer or tablet games, watching television and videos, and surfing the Internet. With more enticing electronic entertainment options than ever before, it can be challening for children to get up and move. Excessive screen time is linked to a number of problems for children such childhood obesity, sleep problems, poor school performance, and behavior issues.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that screen time for children ages 2 to 5 should be limited to 1 hour a day of high quality programming. Here are a few tips to reduce children’s time in front of the screen:

  1. Keep devices out of your child’s bedroom. Children who have TVs in their room tend to spend 1 ½ hours more in a typical day watching TV than kids without a set in their room.
  2. Make meal time, family time. Turn off the TV, cell phones, and video games and talk to each other during family meal time.
  3. Provide other options and alternatives. Watching a screen can become a habit, making it easy to forget what else there is to do. Give children ideas and alternatives, like playing outside, learning a new hobby or sport or doing puzzles or board games. Make a list of all the fun activities that you and your child can do that doesn’t involve a screen.
  4. Set a good example. Be a good role model and limit your screen time. Instead of watching TV or checking email on your phone, spend time with your family doing something fun and active.

Super-Duper Easy Hummus

1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beansHummus Dip
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

  1. Drain and rinse garbanzo beans. In a food processor or blender combine garbanzo beans, garlic, cumin, salt and olive oil.
  2. Blend on low speed, until a smooth dipping consistency is reached. Add a tablespoon or two of water if a thinner consistency is desired.
  3. Serve with a variety of fresh vegetables or whole grain pita chips.
  4. Makes 5 servings. Each serving contains 96 calories, 4 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrate, 3 g dietary fiber: 222 mg sodium.

Cook's notes:

  • Many hummus recipes call for tahini - a paste made from ground sesame seeds that is used frequently in Middle Eastern, Turkish and Greek dishes.
  • This recipe does not call for tahini which works well for those who are unable to find it in their local grocery store, those not wanting to purchase a jar or for those who don't like the tahini flavor.

Sources:

  1. Help Children Reduce Screen Time, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
  2. Children and Media Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics