The world’s first evidence-based 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (ages 0-4 years), was released last week by the Canadian Society Of Exercise Physiology (CSEP). These guidelines outline how much young children need to move, sleep and sit each day. The new guidelines combine physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines and include sleep, showing the important interrelationship between all three behaviours. Fundamentally, the whole day matters — as young children grow and develop they need to work toward high levels of physical activity, low levels of sedentary behaviour and sufficient sleep each day to be healthy.

According to the new guidelines, a healthy 24 hours includes:

For infants (under 1 year old):

  • MOVE: Being physically active several times in a variety of ways, particularly through interactive floor-based play, but more is better. For those not yet mobile, this includes at least 30 minutes of tummy time spread throughout the day while awake.
  • SLEEP: 14-17 hours (for those aged 0-3 months) or 12-16 hours (for those aged 4-11 months) of good-quality sleep, including naps.
  • SIT: Not being restrained for more than one hour at a time (e.g. in a high chair). When sedentary, engaging in pursuits such as reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged. Screen time is not recommended.

For toddlers (1-2 years old) and preschoolers (3-4 years old):

  • MOVE: At least 180 minutes spent in a variety of physical activities at any intensity spread throughout the day, but more is better. Include energetic play for both age groups, with preschoolers getting at least 60 minutes of it.
  • SLEEP: 11-14 hours of good-quality sleep for toddlers, and 10-13 for preschoolers, which may include naps, with consistent bedtimes and wake-up times.
  • SIT: Not being restrained for more than one hour at a time (e.g. in a stroller) or sitting for extended periods. When sedentary, engaging in pursuits such as reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged. Sedentary screen time for those younger than two years old is not recommended, and no more than one hour for those aged 2-4, but less is better.

In the Healthy Together program we’ve already been making great use of the guidelines for 5-17 year olds published back in 2016, and we’ve been eagerly awaiting the publication of the guidelines specific to babies and infants in the 0-4 year range.

To read the full press release click here

For our trained facilitators you will already see the new 0-4y guidelines uploaded on our resource download page! An new and updated Poster 21 is now available in the Posters package. If you are running session 21, 22 or 24 please ensure you download and use the new material.

As of December 2017 the updated Poster 21 incorporates the new guidelines for infants.