Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Screen Time

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 2 hours of screen time per day. This includes television, computer and video game time. They also recommend no television prior to age 2 (this clearly does not occur, hello Baby Einstein empire!).  Although I am quite familiar with the recommendations,  I am not super strict with the 2 hour limit.  When I was little, we had cartoons only on Saturday mornings and occasionally a sitcom in the evening. As I got a little older, cable emerged, and my youngest brother reaped the benefit of USA network's Cartoon Express and a VCR.  Now, with cable, satellite, DVDs, TV on Demands, DVRs, Tivo, and multiple video game systems, kids have whatever they want to watch when they want to watch it.

For example, my son T. played probably close to 10 hours of Lego Indiana Jones 2 this weekend.  It's a newer game for him and so his interest level is high. From our experience with the Wii over the past year, he will lose interest, and then he will have weeks of not playing.  Since we do a lot of driving up north on the weekends, Santa brought a DS last Christmas. Again, he will go through stretches of playing, then he won't play it for a long time.

When we go up north, we have about 3 channels we receive with our antenna. We have a lot of hand-me-down VHS tapes, and (unless it is cold or rainy) the Wii stays home.  The kids love to "adventure" in the woods there. At home, both kids have swim lessons once per week, C. has dance once weekly, and T. just finished his first season of soccer (3 days per week).

It's all about balance.  Living in Wisconsin, we have to adjust to increased outdoor time in the spring/summer/fall and slightly more screen time in the winter.

By Sunday afternoon, I had had enough of the rain, cold, and video games.  I took the kids to a local inflatable play place, and the kids bounced their brains out for 2 1/2 hours.   Only once they were sufficiently sweaty and tired did we return home.

Of course, with it being the onset of the winter viral season, who knows what germs we picked up along the way. But that is a topic for another day!

No comments: