- Children should not have their meals in the presence of screens
- They should not be allowed screens 60 minutes before bed time
- They should not have more than half an hour of screen time
Parents today have become habitual to handing over their phones or tablets to children every time they are getting cranky or refusing to take their meals. Not only does it make their (parents') task easy, it also works as a good distraction for children by taking their minds off from the food they find "boring" or the thing that was making them irritable and cranky. But, did you know that this could have negative impact on the child's health? Celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar, in one of her recent live videos on Facebook and Instagram, talks about the importance of regulating screen time in order to trigger growth and prevent obesity in children.
Three important tips for parents to reduce screen time of children:
1. No screens during meals
According to Rujuta, parents need to instantly give up on the practice of serving foods to kids along with a phone or tablet or while they are sitting in front of a TV. This will ensure that kids learn to pay attention to food and stay in tune with the stomach. This can help in improving leptin (satiety hormone) sensitivity and also prevent episodes of overeating in the future. Children may also learn the importance of meal times if they are given food without any screens.
2. No screens at least 60 minutes before sleeping
Today, adolescents and young teenagers have been given the freedom of keeping phones or tablets at night. Or, many children have developed the habit of sleeping with a TV switched on in the room. All these practices can hamper sleep quality of children. Rujuta suggests that TVs should not be installed in children's rooms. She says that TV in children's bedrooms has a strong connection with childhood obesity. Additionally, children should not be allowed to use screens at least 60 minutes before their bedtime. This will ensure good sleep quality, which plays an important role for children's growth and recovery at this stage. Sleeping well helps growth hormone work effectively during sleep.
3. Reduce total daily screen time of children to 30 minutes
This might sound strange to most parents but it is important for children's healthy growth and well being. This screen time however, can exclude the time children need screens for their homework and assignments. "Studies show a strong link between screen time and craving for junk food, especially sugar sweetened beverages like colas, packaged juices, etc," says Rujuta. Also, it has to be noted that the amount of daily screen time is inversely proportional to physical activity. Lack of physical activity or spending less time in playing outside can lead to childhood obesity and insulin resistance.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.