WHO Stresses on More Playtime, Less or No Screen Time for Kids Under Five


Apr 26, 2019


Photo Courtesy of iamprone,com

For children to grow up healthy, a mix of certain practices like reducing kids’ sedentary time, ensuring quality sleep and improving their physical activity will help, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Wednesday. The recommendations are for parents and mentors of children below five, as WHO suggests the practices be implemented in a child’s life.

One of the most important recommendations was no screen time be allowed for children between ages 0 and two. And for kids above two, screen time should be limited to an hour a day, but the less the better, WHO said.

Stressing on the importance of physical activity, WHO recommended that for those under one, it should be ensured that they are active several times a day in a variety of ways, particularly through floor-based play, and for those not yet mobile, the children could be involved in at least 30 minutes of tummy time, spread throughout the day while awake.

Infants and children up to age five should also not be restrained for more than an hour at a time, for example, be kept in strollers or strapped on the caregiver’s back.

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For slightly older children, between ages one and four, WHO recommends spending at least three hours doing some sort of physical activity of any intensity. Those who are between ages three and four should be made to do at least one hour of moderate to vigorous activities.

In terms of how much children should sleep, WHO defined the hours based on the children’s age group. AGood quality sleep for infants between zero and three months of age is anywhere between 14 and 17 hours a day. For those between four and 11 months of age, they advise at least 12 to 16 hours of sleep a day.

While one to two-year-olds should be sleeping for 11 to 14 hours a day, three to four-year-olds must get at least 10 to 13 hours of good quality sleep.

Failure to meet current physical activity recommendations has been responsible for more than five million deaths globally each year across all age groups. Currently, over 23% of adults and 80% of adolescents are not sufficiently physically active, WHO said. Therefore, if healthy physical activity, sedentary behavior and sleep habits are established early on in life, it will help shape habits through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood.


Written By Anubhuti Matta

Anubhuti Matta is an associate editor with The Swaddle. When not at work, she’s busy pursuing kathak, reading books on and by women in the Middle East or making dresses out of Indian prints.


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