Holly Shannon, M.A.T., Elementary School Teacher

Swappin' Sweat for Screen Time

While spending time with my 10 and 12 year old niece and nephew last weekend, I was excited to hear the exercise deal their mom had made with them.  While at Jazzercise, their mom (my sister in law) started thinking it was crazy that her kids automatically had a set ‘screen” time each week. As she was working up a sweat and having fun exercising, she devised a plan.


For every minute of physical activity that my niece and nephew burn up, they “bank” the minutes on little paper slips in a shoebox. When either one of them wishes to play a video game or watch TV, they simply pull out the desired time from their “bank” and cash it in. 


Parents and children will both benefit from this “banking” system.  My niece has been very excited to ride her bike more often and go to jazzercise with her mother. She knows that she’s banking future screen time, should she want to use it. Although her motivation and interest in physical activity has increased with the new system, the amount of her desired screen time hasn’t increased. Is she too busy actually having fun, playing outside?  Who knows….but the fact is simple: If children want to be sedentary, they must first be active.

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