According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), children under five are advised to be spending less time sitting watching screens or restrained in prams and seats. New guidelines have been established to have more time for active play if they are to grow up healthy.

Improving physical activity, reducing sedentary behaviour and ensuring quality sleep in young children will improve their physical, mental health and well being, as well help prevent childhood obesity and associated diseases later in life.

If healthy physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep habits are established early in life, this helps shape habits through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood.

GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS;

Infants (<1year):

  • Be physically active several times a day in a variety of ways, particularly through interactive floor-based therapy; more is better! For those not yet mobile, this includes at least 30min in prone position (tummy time) spread throughout the day while awake.
  • Not be restrained for than 1hr at a time ie. prams/strollers, high chairs, or strapped on a caregiver’s back. Screen time is NOT When sedentary, engaging in reading and reading storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged.
  • Have 14-17hrs (0-3mths) or 12-16hrs (4-11mths) of good quality sleep, including naps.

Children (1-2yrs):

  • Spend at least 180min in a variety of types of physical activities at any intensity, including moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity, spread through out the day; more is better!
  • Not to be restrained for more than 1hr at a time ie. prams/strollers, high chairs, or strapped on a caregiver’s back or sit for extended periods of time. For 1y/o, sedentary screen time (watching TV or videos, playing computer games) is not recommended. For those aged 2y/o, sedentary time should not be more than 1 hr; less is better. When sedentary, engaging in reading and reading storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged.
  • Have 11-14hrs of good quality sleep, including naps, with regular sleep and wake-up times.

Children (3-4yrs):

  • Spend at least 180 minutes in a variety of types of physical activities at any intensity, of which at least 60min is moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity, spread throughout the day; more is better!
  • Not to be restrained for more than 1hr at a time ie. prams/strollers or sit for extended periods of time. Sedentary time should not be more than 1 hr; less is better. When sedentary, engaging in reading and reading storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged.
  • Have 10-13hrs of good quality sleep, including naps, with regular sleep and wake-up times.

Written by Andrea Matias Accredited Exercise Physiologist

Want to know more?

Did you know that we offer sessions for children at MD Health? If you want more information or would like to book for a FREE full body assessment for your child with one of our Physiotherapists or Exercise Physiologists, call us on 9857 0644 or email us at admin@mdhealth.com.au

Author: MD Health

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