Want your kids to watch less TV? Spend more time with them. It’s that simple. A new study indicates doing so could mean they log 30 fewer minutes in front of the boob tube every day.

“A half-hour each day may not seem like much, but add that up over a week, then a month, and then a year and you have a big impact,” said David Schary, lead author of the study. “This sets the stage for the rest of their life.”

“When children are very young, playing is the main thing they do during waking hours, so parental support and encouragement is crucial,” he added. “So when we see preschool children not going outside much and sitting while playing… we need to help parents counteract that behavior.”

Study co-author Bradley Cardinal said it’s especially important for younger children: “Early life involvement is imperative for establishing healthy, active lifestyles, self-awareness, social acceptance, and even brain and cognitive development.”

And if you don’t have the energy to keep up with a toddler, don’t worry — even just watching her play can make a difference.

[Medical News Today]