Play, screen and sleep: How much does your child need?

Play, screen and sleep: How much does your child need?

The World Health Organization recently came out with guidelines for parents to determine how much sleep and play their young children should receive. The guidelines also looked at how much time young children should spend looking at screens, whether it’s a television, computer or tablet device.

They are based on an analysis of studies that examined sleep and screen activities in infants and children. Research links significant screen time to sedentary behavior, which can contribute to obesity later in life.

The guidelines focus on three separate age groups: infants under age 1, children ages 1 to 2, and children ages 3 to 4. If your child is under age 1, the guidelines are simple: no screen time. Instead, they recommend at least 30 minutes of tummy time a day and 12 to 16 hours of sleep.

If your child is between the ages of 1 and 2, the group recommends at least 180 minutes of physical activity every day. The guidelines for this age group endorse 11 to 14 hours of sleep, including naps, and no screen time for 1-year-olds. Two-year-old kids can have one hour of screen time, according to the guidelines.

If your child is between 3 and 4, WHO advises screen time to be limited to one hour per day. It also recommends at least 180 minutes of physical activity, with at least 60 minutes of vigorous activity that involves running or jumping. The guidelines suggest at least 10 hours of sleep for kids in this age range.

How do you make these recommendations a reality? Prioritize sleep and play when planning a child’s daily schedule. With these tips handy, you are providing a healthy start to your child’s life.

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