A new TV season is starting! Are you as excited as we are to curl up on the couch and dive into your favourite shows? To enjoy them guilt-free, here are 11 healthy TV-watching habits for the whole family.
Don’t put TVs in bedrooms
Instead, keep the TV for common areas such as the living room. This makes it easier to supervise what the kids are watching and resist the temptation to watch TV before bed. Don’t forget about tablets, because clever kids can use them to watch TV on an app or online!
Adopt the 2/30 rule
For every 2 hours of TV, do 30 minutes of physical activity. You can even start by doing some activity (walking, running, cycling, yoga, etc.) and then reward yourself with some screen time.
Activate the Parental Control feature
This feature sets which content is available based on the viewer’s age. For peace of mind when your kids are watching TV, activate the Parental Control feature on the platforms you use:
Love the sound of the TV playing in the background? Play a podcast or the radio instead of turning on the TV. You’ll still get to enjoy listening to something in the background, without it preventing you from doing other things at the same time.
Watch TV as a family
We know it’s not always easy to agree on a show or movie that will appeal to everyone. Take turns choosing, then sit down and watch TV as a family. After watching, kick off a discussion by asking your kids open-ended questions: “What do you think?” “What would you have done instead of that character?” Doing so will help them develop their critical thinking skills. Get more tips from Media Smarts about co-viewing with your kids.
Promote “anti-channel surfing”
Don’t know what to watch? Resist the urge to flick from channel to channel to see what’s on. It’s a time-consuming habit that doesn’t really entertain you. (When was the last time you stumbled across a show or movie that really hooked you while channel surfing?) Instead, plan your TV time—schedule a certain time of the week when you’ll watch content that you’ve chosen. You’ll enjoy watching even more!
Record your shows
Recording lets you watch your shows at your convenience, in small doses if you want. Watch your late-night talk shows over breakfast or your morning shows when you get home from work in the evening—it’s up to you! Learn how to schedule your recordingsfor Helix and for illico.
Avoid eating (distractedly) in front of the TV
We know it’s not easy—the call of the popcorn bowl is often irresistible on TV nights! However, it seems that we notice our satiety signals less when we eat in front of the TV, which can lead to overeating. Health professionals evidence this fact, reminding us that the important thing is to take the time to enjoy your food and listen to your body, whether you’re in front of the TV or not. Basically, go ahead and snack, but do it mindfully and in moderation!
Get up and move during commercials
On average, there are 12 minutes of commercials per hour of programming. Instead of skipping the ads, take advantage of the opportunity to stretch your legs: do some cleaning, throw in a load of laundry, grab a glass of water, do a few sit-ups, and so on.
Reduce binge watching
According to one study, when you watch episodes at spaced intervals, you enjoy a TV series more and remember it longer. For example, remember the anticipation of waiting for each episode of Game of Thrones to air? Binge watching, while satisfying in the short term, kills anticipation. It’s up to you to see whether you prefer making the enjoyment last longer.
Plan a screen-free evening
During the week, plan an evening when you and your family will do something else besides watching TV: board games, sports, music, puzzles, cooking, etc. Having a weekly family night will allow you to create special moments with your loved ones.