7 Ways to Curb Kids' Exposure to Violence
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Encourage Non-Violent Hobbies and Quality Family Time
Studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce the risk for depression and stress. A 2008 Columbia University study found that physical activity may help decrease violent behavior in some teens. So try to get kids involved in a non-violent hobby or minimal-contact sport, such as baseball, softball, tennis, gymnastics, swimming, or track and field. Try these 8 fun (and cheap!) family fitness activities at home and organize neighborhood games that get kids together outdoors.
Spending time together as a family can boost kids' self-esteem and help you stay in tune with your child's mental health. Try to have media-free family meals at least a few times a week, and ask questions that will get kids talking.
Encourage both girls and boys to express their emotions in a healthy way from a young age. Talk with your children about their exposure to violence — whether they have witnessed bullying in school or seen firearms or violent TV shows at friends' homes — and their questions or thoughts about it. You may be surprised to learn that some children (even ones with minimal exposure to violence at home) think the solution to being bullied is to fight back physically, or think that violence in the media is "cool."