The Geneva-based World Health Organization has released its first-ever guidelines on screen time for infants and young children. And these guidelines say that children under five must have a maximum screen time of one hour and children under one should have no screen time at all.
Apart from screen time, the recommendations also throw more light on the amount of physical activity, sedentary time, and sleep that young children must have.
Here is a summary of the findings.
For infants (less than a year old), the screen time is not recommended. For children between 1 and 4 years, sedentary screen time should be less than an hour. However, the lesser the time, the better.
Unfortunately, parents today hand over phones readily to children to stop them from crying. Also, the frenetic pace of life takes a toll on the parents who are so tired after work that they cannot spend much time with the children and give their children phones to keep them busy. Isn’t this an eye-opener for parents such toddlers.
According to the guidelines, infants must be physically active in any form for many times a day. In terms of physical activity, children between 1 and 4 years are recommended to have at least 180 minutes of physical activity in any form and at any intensity. Also, it is recommended that the more activity, the better. Further, the guidelines mandate that they must not be restrained for more than 60 minutes.
For infants less than 3 months of age, a sleep time of 14-17 hours is recommended while infants between 4 and 11 months old are recommended a sleep time of 12-16 hours. Children between 1 and 2 years are recommended a sleep time of 11 to 14 hours whereas children between 3 and 4 years are recommended 10 to 13 hours of sleep. This should be with regular sleep and wake-up times.
A healthy physical and mental life is the key to better health later in life. And these good habits must be ingrained in children right from childhood.
Read more about the guidelines here.