How much screen time is too much?
In 2016, the world’s first 24-Hour Movement Guidelines were developed, a set of evidence based guidelines integrating physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep. It provides guidance on how much people need to move, sleep and sit each day and the interrelationship between the three.
Although young children can be busy that doesn’t necessarily mean they are being active. Many children and young adults are not getting enough physical activity, and spending too much time on screens, which has a greater impact on those under five years of age.
Tummy Time for infants
Energetic Play for Preschoolers
Screen Time for preschoolers
Infants <1 Screen time is not recommended
1-2 years No more than 1 hour – less is better
3-5 years, Limit routine or regular screen time to less than 1 hour per day – less is better
<5 years ensure sedentary screen time is not a routine part of child care
Maintain daily ‘screen free’ time especially during meals and book time
No screens at least 1 hour before bedtime (CPS, 2017)
No more than 2 hours a day of recreational screen time.
Limited sitting for extended periods.
Limit sedentary time to 8 hours or less, which includes: no more than 3 hours of recreational screen time and breaking up long periods of sitting as often as possible.
Model healthy screen use
Choose healthy alternatives – reading, outdoor play and creative, hands-on activities
Turn off their devices at home during family time
Turn off screens when not in use and avoid background TV
Screen time for 64 +
There is diversity in the acceptance and use of technology in this broad age group with some owning and using at similar rates as those under the age of 65.
Limiting sedentary time to 8 hours or less, which includes
- No more than 3 hours of recreational screen time, and
- Breaking up long periods of sitting as often as possible
Most adults think it is appropriate to limit children’s screen time to the recommended ≤ 2 h/day but few adults themselves adhere to this screen time limit.
- Strategies to reduce screen time in children may also need to target adult screen use
- reduce the risks associated with screen time
Canadian 24 Hour Movement Guidelines – All ages
Caring for Kids, Canadian Paediatric Society – information, posters, booklets and tips for young children
Childcare Providers Toolkit (Michigan)