Monthly Archives

November 2015

Activities to Reduce Screen Time

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In the previous post we discussed the effects of excessive TV watching on behaviour in children. In this post we have some suggestions for activities to reduce the time spent in front of the TV.

To reduce screen-time, you can…

  1. Listen to the radio
  2. Paint a picture, a mural or something else
  3. Read a book. Read a book to someone else
  4. Write a letter to a friend, a relative, or someone you idolize
  5. Bake sweats or cook dinner with the family
  6. Play cards or board games
  7. Do some home gardening or plant small pots
  8. Go for a nature walk or a picnic
  9. Do some stargazing
  10. Attend a community event
  11. Visit the library

Source: Unplug and Connect to Nature Initiative for the Tri-Cities and School District 43


TV and Child Development

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To start with, here are some numbers from the Kaiser Family Foundation:

  • 2/3 infants and toddlers watch an average of 2 hours of TV per day
  • kids 6 and under watch have an average of 2 hours of “screen-time” (tv, online videos, movies) per day
  • kids/teens aged 8-18 spend have a screen time of approximately 4 hours per day, PLUS 2 hours on the computer (outside of schoolwork) and playing video games

Sounds like a lot of screen time right? Well what impact does this have on childhood development and behaviour?

The first couple years of life are crucial for brain development, which occurs largely in a social setting. Screen time can limit this social setting. Also, as children get older excessive tv watching can get in the way of other beneficial activities like playing sports, reading novels, doing schoolwork and socializing with friends and family.

Now this is not to say that television and videos don’t have their role in life and learning. They of course do, and can be beneficial in a number of scenarios including preschoolers learning the alphabet, older children watching documentaries and learning about storytelling and media. And, we of course aren’t saying that the only thing children should be able to watch is education specials, TV in moderation of course is enjoyable. However, in excess it has been found to have a number of negative consequences for young children.

Such consequences include:

  • Higher likelihood of being overweight (when tv watching is consistently 4 hours or greater per day)
  • Potential increases in aggressive behaviours (if shows, and in this case video games as well, are violent)
  • Potential encouragement of risky behaviour
  • And more

So what’s the solution? Well…opinions on this are mixed…do you eliminate tv and media all together? That’s kind of difficult in today’s society and may not be necessary. Do programmers increase education content? That isn’t really in our control. So, in most cases the most accessible solution is to monitor the content and time spent on tv by your children. has some suggestions for how to most effectively do this for each of the specific behaviour problems mentioned above and a couple others AND offers guidelines for TV content ratings. Visit the link below for these details.


November Activities in the Lower Mainland

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Be a tourist in your own city this November with these activities from tourism Vancouver!

1. Take a hike (before the weather gets too cold…refer to our past blog post on hikes for Vancouver that has some tips for hiking with children)
2. Visit the VanDusen Botanical Garden and take a look at the fall colours
3. Visit Maplewood Farm to see some fun farm animals
4. Ride the Ghost Train in Stanley Park (moderate “spookiness” but be careful for kids who are younger or easily scared)
5. And more!

Visit (source) for full list of potential activities and links to other activity ideas:…/s…/top-10-fall-activities/


Remembrance Day

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Tomorrow is Remembrance Day. To pay respect to those who have served and continue to serve in war today we are posting the poem In Flander’s Fields. It was written by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae who was a Canadian physician in the first World War.

Here are 3 verses of the poem:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

For additional information on this poem in particular visit: