Do you let your baby play games or fall asleep while watching TV? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it may not be so harmless. The WHO just released its new guidelines on physical activity, sleep and screen time for kids ages 5 and under. WHO revised its guidelines based on an assessment of the effects of inadequate sleep, screen time and sedentary activity on kids, as well as the perks of physical activity. It was determined kids in this age group need more time for active play, less time on screens and a good night’s sleep.
According to the WHO, nearly a quarter of all adults and 80 percent of adolescents aren’t active enough. To avoid that trend from continuing, it’s important to instill good habits in kids while they’re young. Replace some idle screen time with active play, spend sedentary time doing screen-free activities like doing puzzles or reading and get them to bed on time.
Here are the highlights:
- Babies under 1 year old should be physically active through the most floor play possible, or for 30 minutes of tummy time if they’re not yet mobile. They shouldn’t be restrained for more than an hour straight, and shouldn’t have any screen time at all. From ages 0-3 months, they should get 14-17 hours of sleep including naps, and 12-16 hours if they’re age 4-11 months.
- Kids ages 1-2 years should get at least three hours of physical activity a day (the more the better), and still shouldn’t be restrained for more than an hour at a time. One-year-olds shouldn’t get any screen time, while two-year-olds shouldn’t get more than an hour a day. Sedentary activities should be in the realm of reading with a caregiver. Eleven to 14 hours of sleep including naps is ideal.
- Kids ages 3-4 years should get three hours of physical activity a day, one of those hours being of moderate to vigorous intensity. They still should only be restrained for up to an hour at a time, and get no more than one hour of screen time a day. Ten to 13 hours of sleep is best, and can include naps.
It’s a lot to keep track of, we know, and sometimes real life intervenes and we can’t always keep those devices away. The bottom line, though, is simple, according to the new guidelines: The more kids play instead of sitting still on a device, the healthier they’ll likely be.