REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF TIME YOUR CHILD SPENDS IN FRONT OF THE TELEVISION
Screens—from TV sets to computer monitors—are here to stay. But that doesn’t mean your middle schooler should be glued to one all day long. So make a point of getting him away from the screen and on the path to a healthful, active life. Here’s how:
¨ Set limits. Decide on a reasonable amount of daily computer/TV time—say, two hours—and stick with it. If your middle schooler exceeds that amount, pull the plug on him.
¨ Talk to him. Explain to your middle schooler why you’re limiting his screen time. Tell him it’s important that he get exercise and fresh air instead of sitting in front of the TV or computer. Just don’t expect him to agree with you!
¨ Banish the bedroom TV. Studies show that kids with televisions in their rooms watch an extra 90 minutes of television every day.
¨ Walk the walk. If you don’t want your middle schooler to be a couch potato, don’t be one yourself. Drop the clicker and grab a tennis racket or baseball mitt.
¨ Offer alternative. Give your middle schooler other things to do besides sitting in front of a screen. Offer to go biking with him. Or shoot hoops together.
¨ Don’t use screen time as a reward or punishment. It’ll make the TV and computer seem even more important to your middle schooler.
Source: “Helpful Ways to Reduce Screen Time,” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/wecan/live-it/screen-time-htm. Reprinted with permission from © Copyright The Parent Institute
NEVER MISS A CHANCE TO REINFORCE LEARNING OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM
Your preteen’s education doesn’t just happen at school. It happens everywhere! To reinforce her learning:
¨ Have her teach you a thing or two. Find out what your preteen is studying at school, and ask her to explain it to you. By “retelling” the things she’s learning, she reinforces those things in her own head.
¨ Put her knowledge into action. If your preteen just finished tackling fractions in math, have her join you in the kitchen. Show her the real-life importance of what she’s learned. “This recipe calls for half a cup of milk, but we only have a 1/3-cup measurer. How can we figure out the right amount?”
¨ Expose her to new things. Every meaningful experience your preteen has—from a zoo visit to a museum trip—impacts her learning. On your next outing, ask her how what she is seeing relates to what she is learning in school.
¨ Respect her ability. Let your preteen use her knowledge and skills to help you. The next time you make a wrong turn somewhere, hand her the map and see if she can figure out a solution.
Reprinted with permission from © copyright 2008 The Parent Institute