Making the most of screen time


On average, American children are spending five to seven hours a day on entertainment media, including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices1. That’s up to 49 hours a week!

Too much screen time can:

  • Raise your child's risk for gaining too much weight
  • Decrease time spent outdoors and being physically active
  • Lower grades in school
  • Make it hard for your child to sleep at night
  • Raise your child's risk for developmental delays, learning and attention problems, anxiety and depression

Screens may play an even larger role right now in their lives than before. It’s important that parents help their children find a good balance between their screen use and other healthy behaviors. Being a good role model is key. Don’t let screen time displace important family activities, like family meals, a good night’s sleep or having unplugged downtime. Taking active breaks from screens throughout the day is encouraged. Children need at least 60 minutes of exercise every day.

Try a few of these simple ideas together to help keep your kids busy and active without a screen:

Outdoor Activities  
  • Blow bubbles
  • Throw a frisbee
  • Sidewalk chalk art
  • Go on a bug hunt
  • Kickball
  • Fly kites
  • Jump rope
  • Create an obstacle course
  • Walk the dog
  • Play follow the leader
  • Take a nature walk
  • Wash the car
  • Have a picnic
  • Play hopscotch
  • Paint rocks
  • Jump rope
Indoor Activities  
  • Color or paint
  • Put on a play
  • Write a story
  • Start a journal
  • Craft projects
  • Puppet Show
  • Make cards
  • Send a letter
  • Read a book
  • Play tic tac toe
  • Build with blocks
  • Have a dance contest
  • Play board games
  • Make playdough or slime
  • Play hide and seek
  • Dress up and have a parade
  • Build an indoor fort
  • Indoor scavenger hunt

Try taking a few minutes each day to work with your children on a new skill, chore or project. Can they tie their shoes, whistle, snap their fingers or blow a bubble? How about letting them help cook dinner or set the table? Can they organize a photo album, clean out a closet or help fix something around the house?

It’s also OK to let your kids have free time and figure things out on their own. All play and down time doesn’t have to be structured and organized. Let their imaginations run wild and see how creative your kids can be!

During Screen-Free Week this year, May 3 – 9th, Goshen Health is partnering with York Elementary School and the Goshen Farmers Market to encourage families to unplug and be more active.  A special challenge with fun incentives is being offered to students, patients and the community at large.
Individuals can pick-up a screen free week activity packet at the Goshen Farmer’s Market on the following days and times:

Saturday, April 24th from 8 am to 1 pm
Saturday, May 1st from 8 am to 1pm
Tuesday, May 4th from 3-7 pm

You can also request a packet by sending an email to or calling (574) 364-2496.

1. 2019 The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens