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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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April 14, 2010

Good health means less screen time

©istockphoto.com/nodmitry In our effort to lead a healthier life at home, our family is trying to be less attached to electronics. This is mostly directed at our kids, and specifically 7-year-old Peder, who is just too attached to his Nintendo DS.

We've banned weeknight TV, taken the DS away and for now Wii can only be used as a family activity. All three kids can earn TV and electronic game privileges back in moderation (weekends) by doing household chores and reading more. We're still fine-tuning this "points" system.

As an alternative, we brainstormed things to do sans electronics. Peder wrote them all down on pieces of paper and put them in an empty Diet Coke fridge pack box: "play at the park," "game night," "puzzle night," "neighborhood walk," "invite someone to dinner," "go out to dinner," "have dessert." A few things are reserved for weekends nights and may involve a screen: "camp out in the living room" and "family movie night."

Tuesday was our first night with the activity box: outdoor treasure hunt. We made a list of 10 things to find or do in the neighborhood, including "picking up litter" (we filled a bag) and "make a new friend." It was a success. The kids were so excited when they returned with their crossed off list, they wanted Oliver, 4, to draw an activity for tonight. So if you need me after supper, I'll be playing in the park.

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