Unit 8 Information for Leaders

To view the individual activities for this unit, click on them in the highlighted orange box to the left

A PDF version of this unit is available here.

Behavior Goal

Children will watch less TV.

Key Messages for Kids

  • Moving your body keeps you fit!
  • Do something active instead of watching TV playing videogames, or spending time on the computer.

Key Information for Program Staff

Television viewing is the most common sedentary activity of children in the United States. Every day 8- to 18-year-olds spend about 4 hours watching TV and DVDs, over an hour on the computer and almost an hour playing video games! Excess TV viewing can lead to less physical activity, overeating, and a higher risk for becoming overweight. This is because children are not active when they watch TV, they tend to snack more, and they see lots of advertising for high calorie, high sugar foods like candy, soda, and fast foods.

The activities in this unit help children recognize how much TV they watch, and more importantly, help you encourage children to replace TV and other screen time (like video games and computers) with other activities that they like. Take the time to brainstorm with the kids in your program to identify a wide variety of screen-free activities they enjoy. It is important to share the key messages and tips for families so parents and guardians can limit TV time at home (see the Parent Communications and Parent Handouts section in the Food & Fun curriculum). Support these messages in your afterschool program by eliminating broadcast and cable TV or movies, and limiting computer time to less than 1 hour each day. If you do show TV in your afterschool program, replace this with physically active games or other non-screentime activities like board games, cards, or arts and crafts. The key to successfully reducing TV and other screen time is to replace that time with activities that children like!

Tip: While physical activity is a great way to spend non-TV time, reducing screen time also provides a wonderful opportunity to promote literacy through reading, crossword puzzles, and other word games. Consider making a connection with your local library to support literacy efforts. Also try participating in a TV Turn-Off week, a national event that takes place each April (see http://www.tvturnoff.org/).

  • Refer to the "Turn Off That Screen!" Tip Sheet PDF for ideas on how to eliminate TV and suggestions for non-screentime activities at your afterschool program.
  • The browser version of this tip sheet is located here
  • The fast map for this unit is available here
  • The browser version of this fast map is available here