A new article about physical activity and the sleeping habits of children really caught my eye today. It is a relevant subject that sadly needs to be addressed. Kids are engaging in too much screen time. This screen time is affecting them in negative ways.
These recommendations came out of a Canadian study this month. I feel that they are relevant for Americans as well. These new recommendations are called the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years. It was developed by HALO, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta, the Public Health Agency of Canada, ParticipACTION and other researchers from Canada and around the world.
The fact that we need to set guidelines on how much our children are watching is really quite sad. But I think it is very necessary in today's age. It used to be that kids played outside together, they played with their toys and they were happy doing crafts. Now the TV watching, and use of digital screen pads is overwhelming and prevalent. You see it everywhere- at restaurants, in public places, and at home.
Some Facts about the new guidelines.
- Children under the age of 1, should be physically active several times a day. This includes at least 30 minutes of tummy time spread throughout the day. They should not spend more than an hour in a restrained position (such as in a high chair) and should get plenty of sleep
- Children ages 3 months or less should get 14 to 17 hours of sleep (this also includes naps)
- Children ages 4 months to 11 months should get 12 to 16 hours for kids four to 11 months old of sleep (this also includes naps)
- Kids aged 1 to 4 years old should move at least 180 minutes per day. This includes heart-pumping, energetic play.
- Kids 3- 4 years old should be getting at least 60 minutes of high energetic play everyday.
- Toddlers 1 to 2 years old should be getting 11 to 14 hours of good-quality sleep
- Preschoolers should get 10 to 13 hours per day of good quality sleep
- Both toddlers and preschoolers should have consistent bedtimes and wake-up times
- Kids 2 years old and younger shouldn't be spending any sedentary time with screens,
- Kids 2-4 years old should have no more than one hour of screen time per day
Its interesting to me that they spell these out and give you how many minutes your child should be sleeping and playing. Sounds a bit harsh, but again I truly believe its necessary. I'm not a fan of government, Societies and studies telling me how and when my children should sleep and play at all. The implications of not doing something about excessive screen time and sedentary lifestyles affects a child's future. Plain and simple. Obesity, learning difficulties, paying attention, socializing with other kids are all consequences of this.
In Canada, only 13% of the preschoolers meet the above guidelines. Only 13%. According to Dr. Mark Tremblay, Director of Halo, "With movement, we have focused on physical activity and really, frankly, a subset of that being exercise, almost exclusively in our public-health recommendations," He stated that parents need to think more fully and clearly about everything in their children's lives that make up a healthy day. That's what the new guidelines are there for.
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