New Guidelines for Toddler Screen Time: WHO Encourages More Physical Activity

. February 29, 2020.
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The World Health Organization [WHO] recently released new guidelines on screen limits and sedentary behaviors for children under the age of five. “For the greatest health benefits, infants, and young children, should meet all the recommendations for physical activity, sedentary [behavior] and sleep in a 24-hour period,” the guide explains. “Replacing restrained or sedentary screen time with more moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity, while preserving sufficient sleep, can provide additional health benefits.” Research continues to show that physical activity improves fitness and motor and cognitive development.

WHO additionally warns that children under age five should not be restrained for over an hour, which includes strollers, high chairs, and baby-wearing devices. When sitting still, reading and story-telling is recommended over screen time.

Tips for decreasing screen time:

  • Set a timer on electronic devices so kids know when screen time is up.
  • Engage in physical activity as a family: go to the park, take a walk through the neighborhood, visit an indoor water park, hike through the Toledo Metroparks.
  • Keep devices out of reach and eyesight.
  • Add pass codes so kids must clear usage with an adult.
  • Set examples: Read a book, work on a hobby, color with kids or exercise.
  • Try to find meaningful and educational cartoons or shows.