Sleep, Exercise, Screen Time: Help Your Teen Adopt Healthy Habits

by Kelsey DeClue | Feb 14, 2020
Think your teenager is getting enough sleep and exercise? Think again. Only 5 percent of U.S. teens are meeting these goals, according to a recent study. And researchers also found that most teens are falling short on another important recommendation -- getting no more than two hours of screen time a day. Not meeting these three goals may put kids' physical and mental health at risk, as well as affect their behavior and academic achievement.

Getting Enough Sleep and Exercise

Experts recommend teens ages 13 to 18 get eight to 10 hours of sleep a night and log at least one hour of physical activity every day. These two activities are often interconnected. Being active will also help your teen sleep better. Here's how to help your kids meet these goals:
Encourage your teens to join a sport. The more they enjoy it the more likely they are to stick with it.
Find activities to do together. Try taking a walk after dinner, going for a bike ride or trying out a new sport, such as rock climbing, yoga or martial arts.
Set firm bedtime rules. Experts recommend keeping all screens out of kids bedrooms and avoiding screen time at least one hour before bedtime.
Be a good role model. If your kids see you enjoying physical activity, it's more likely they will too. The same goes for getting enough shut-eye.

Keeping Screen Time Healthy

Time spent in front of a screen is mostly sedentary and often solitary. This can lead to problems with physical and emotional health. Here are some ways to keep your teens screen time in check:
Make mealtimes screen-free. Ban cellphone sform the table and keep the TV off.
Share some screen time together. Use the opportunity to discuss difficult topics that arise in a movie or TV show.
Set limits. Make rules for how much time your teen spends in front of a screen and stick to them.
Follow the rules yourself. You're an important role model and your kids will learn by your behavior.

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