Sit less, play more

As a parent, you have an important role in nurturing your children’s growth and development.

According to new World Health Organisation guidelines, children under 5 should spend less time watching screens, get better quality sleep and have more time for active play so they grow up healthy.

Whether through active play, walking or activities such as swimming, dance and gymnastics, physical activity is good for children.

As your child sits less, plays more and has good quality sleep it helps them to:

  • develop strong bones and muscles
  • enhance cognitive development and emotional regulation
  • develop movement patterns and motor skills
  • achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  • establish healthy habits that can stay with them throughout their life
  • provide opportunities to interact with others, make friends and develop social skills
  • improve their overall physical, mental health and well-being.

Not only is it good to encourage your children to be active, but being active with them can also benefit your own health.

In Australia, the 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (0-5 years) suggests:

Infants (< 1 year)

  • 30 minutes of tummy time is encouraged
  • should not be restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g., in a stroller, car seat or high chair) or sitting for extended periods
  • screen time is not recommended
  • 14 to 17 hours of good quality sleep a day.

Toddlers (1-2 years)

  • at least 180 minutes a day doing physical activities including energetic play such as running, jumping and twirling
  • should not be restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g. in a stroller, car seat or high chair) or sit for extended periods
  • screen time is not recommended during sedentary periods
  • 11 to 14 hours of good quality sleep a day, with consistent sleep and wake-up times.

Pre-schooler (3-5 years)

  • at least 180 minutes a day doing physical activities including energetic play such as running, jumping and twirling
  • should not be restrained, for more than 1 hour at a time e.g. in a stroller or car seat) or sitting for extended periods
  • sedentary screen time should be no more than 1 hour a day
  • 10 to 13 hours of good quality sleep, which may include a nap, with consistent sleep and wake-up times.

More resources and tips on:

•         the importance of play, outdoor play, moving and grooving, baby playtime or games and play ideas

•         how to use and manage screen time

•         encouraging positive sleep health and sleep development.

Published — 16 July 2019 Last updated — 16 July 2019

Want personalised tips and activities?

Complete these short questions to get personalised tips and activities to see how simple and easy it can be.

Get started
01 / 05

What is your relationship with the child?

MotherFatherGrandmotherGrandfatherCarer/Guardian

What best describes your location?

Metro
Regional
Remote

If you had a spare moment, what would you most likely do with the child?

Metro
Regional
Remote

And finally…

Do you speak another language at home apart from English?
Are you of Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander descent?
Does the child need additional support with their development or learning?
Now we know a little more about the content that might interest you we’ve compiled it into a handy page for you.
Go