Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Young People (5-17 years) 

July 29, 2019 by in category Uncategorized with 0 and 1

In April 2019, Australia’s Department of Health released new guidelines for children and young people, aged 5 to 17 years. This document outlines the levels of physical activity, sedentary behaviour, screen time and sleep a child should receive. Below is a summary of the points from the
Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Young People (5-17 years) – An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour and Sleep. 

 

 

Better health outcomes for our children

These guidelines aim to increase health outcomes for our children. These health outcomes include

 

  • “Better fitness,
  • Academic achievement and cognition,
  • Mental health,
  • Emotional regulation, and
  • Pro-social behaviours.” (Department of Health, 2019).

 

 

Healthy 24 hours for children

These guidelines highlight a “Healthy 24-hours” for children aged 5-17 years.

 

  • “60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day,
  • Several hours of a variety of light physical activities,
  • Limiting sedentary recreational screen time to no more than 2 hours per day,
  • Breaking up long periods of sitting as often as possible,
  • An uninterrupted 9-11 hours of sleep per night for those aged 5-13 years and 8-10 hours per night for those aged 14-17 years,
  • Consistent bed and wake-up times.” (Department of Health, 2019)

So many guidelines! What if our child is not currently meeting all the guidelines? Well, the Department of Health recommends for those who are not yet meeting the 24-hour guidelines, that we work towards it. But how can we help our children meet these guidelines?

 

 

1. Increase physical activity levels in children

The
guidelines recommend:

 

  • 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day, and
  • Several hours of a variety of light physical activities.

 

The more you huff and puff, the better!

Children can participate in physical activity in a variety of ways:

 

  • Going to the park to play on the playground equipment or run around on the grass.
  • Allow your child to play in the backyard. They might surprise you as to what games they make up.
  • Playing ball games with family and friends after school or on the weekend.
  • If you have a dog, ask your child to play ball with the dog or take the dog for a walk with you.
  • Participating in after-school sports like soccer, swimming, martial arts and rock climbing.
  • On the weekends, going for an afternoon stroll or short hikes.

 

 

2. Reduce Sedentary Behaviour

The guidelines recommend:

 

  • Limiting sedentary recreational screen time to no more than 2 hours per day,
  • Breaking up long periods of sitting as often as possible,

Children may often engage in sedentary behaviour, particularly during screen time. The guidelines recommend no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time a day. They may be so engaged in screen time that they do not know how much time has passed. As parents, it can also be hard to keep your child engage without the use of screens. So what else can my child do? Here are some suggestions to try:

 

  • Put a timer on when the child is using screens to make sure they are not spending too much on screens. Or you could limit the amount of time per session. For example: after 20 minutes on the screen, they need to take a walk to their room.
  • Play games as a family. Some fun games include: Twister, Charades, Jenga, Uno, Mouse Trap, Operation, and Monopoly
  • Depending on the age of your child, ask them to help with things around the house. They might help peel some vegetables when you are preparing dinner, set the dinner table, water the plants with a spray bottle, wipe down the table, play with their younger siblings etc.
  • On the weekend, work on a project together. This might be a craft project or baking a cake.
  • Engage them with hands-on games like Rubix Cubes and Bop It.

 

 

3. Improve sleep for children

The guidelines recommend:

 

  • An uninterrupted 9-11 hours of sleep per night for those aged 5-13 years and 8-10 hours per night for those aged 14-17 years, and
  • Consistent bed and wake-up times.

Tips to help your child get good sleep.

 

  • Make sure your child is having sufficient sleep. Is your 5-13 year old getting 9-11 hours of sleep? Is your 14-17 year old getting 8-10 hours of sleep? If not, maybe consider implementing the next point.
  • Have consistent sleep and wake-up times. Make sure your children are aware of these times so they have a clear expectation from the beginning. For example, every weeknight children sleep at 7:00pm.
  • Have consistent sleep routines. For example, the evening sequence of events may be: eat dinner, have a shower, brush teeth, story time, bed time. The use of a visual schedule can help children who might need reminders of what activities need to be completed before bedtime. A visual schedule can simply be pictures of the activities on a whiteboard. Children can either tick off the activity when they have completed the activity.
  • Try and minimise the amount of blue light before bedtime. Blue light is emitted from screens. You can put a blue light filter on your devices at night to assist with better sleep.

 

Comment below and let us know your ideas to help your child meet these guidelines.

 

 

References

Department of
Health. (2019). Australian 24-Hour Movement
Guidelines for Children and Young People (5 To 17 Years).
Available
from: here [Accessed 15 May 2019]

 

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