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August 20, 2019

Tots need more sleep & playtime but less TV, says WHO experts

April 25, 2019
The World Health Organization recommends kids under the age of 5 get plenty of playtime, sleep and limited screen time. (Getty Images)

Plenty of sleep, lots of play activity and very little screen time are the keys to raising healthy toddlers.

That’s the recommendation from officials at the World Health Organization, who released new guidelines for children under the age of 5 on Wednesday.


“This is about making the shift from sedentary time to playtime, while protecting sleep, said Dr. Juana Willumsen, WHO’s Department of the Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases expert.

WHO revealed the research was conducted by a panel of experts that “assessed the effects” on children who were lacking adequate sleep and physical activity but also exposed to digital monitors. The agency claims simple steps will “contribute to children’s motor and cognitive development and lifelong health.”

Parents of children under the age of 12 months are encouraged to engage them in plenty of floor-based playtime and ensure they get up to 17 hours of sleep. For 1-year-olds and 2-year-olds, tots should get three hours of activity, 11 hours to 14 hours of rest and be limited to no more than 60 minutes of screen time.

Kids between 3 and 4 should also engage in three hours of physical activity, receive 10 to 13 hours of sleep and limit screen time to one hour.

Dr. Jennifer Shu, a representative for the American Academy of Pediatrics, told CNN that the guidelines were “straightforward” and will “give parents some parameters to follow when it comes to sleep, physical activity and limiting screen time.”


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