In this increasingly technological world in which we live, it has become increasingly difficult to prevent babies, children and adolescents from contacting screens. It’s a cell phone, notebook, television … So many things! And it ends up being a very big temptation for the parents at times, after all, that mommy never went through the situation of being full of tasks, with her son asking her all the time, refusing to focus on games?
We see that cell phone, think about that bunch of videos that are sure to win your child’s attention and the temptation to expose him to the screens comes up! But today I’m going to talk a little bit about why we should resist this, after all, the screens have a very negative influence on sleep and on the baby’s general quality of life!
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In April of this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) published in its booklet “Guidelines on Physical activity, sedentary behavior and sleep for children under 5 years of age”The recommendation that children up to five years old should not spend more than 60 minutes per day in front of a smartphone, computer and tv screen. And more! He warned that babies under 12 months of age should not spend even a minute in front of electronic devices!
The reason for this alert is that the use of screens has stimulated a sedentary lifestyle and, consequently, childhood obesity. 40 million children worldwide are overweight.
If during the day the screens are a great stimulus to sedentary lifestyle – how many times has a child not refused to perform games and physical activities to be in front of the cell phone? – at night it also contributes to sleep deprivation. The light from the screens decreases the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for inducing our sleep!
When we think about these issues, the ideal is to establish rules. For older children, no screens (at least an hour) before bedtime. Avoid placing a TV in your child’s room! There are several options for healthier stimuli, as we saw in last month’s column.
Below the guidelines referring to this WHO booklet, which were divided by age group!
World Health Organization guidelines
The use of screens and the practice of physical activities
Babies (less than a year)
They must be physically active several times a day in a variety of ways, particularly through interactive play on the floor. The more the better. For those who still do not know how to walk, these physical activities should include at least 30 minutes in a prone position, distributed throughout the day, when the babies are awake;
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They should not remain in forms of restraint and restriction of movement for more than an hour in a row – for example, in baby strollers, high chairs or on the back of a caregiver. It is not recommended that they spend time in front of electronic device screens. In times of inactivity, it is recommended that a caregiver read or tell stories;
They should have 14 to 17 hours (from birth to three months of age) or 12 to 16 hours (from four to 11 months of age) of good quality sleep, including naps.
Children from one to two years old
They should spend at least 180 minutes in a variety of physical activities at any intensity, including moderate to high intensity physical activities, distributed throughout the day. The more the better;
They should not be restricted for more than an hour in a row – for example, in baby strollers, high chairs or on a caregiver’s back – or remain seated for long periods of time. For one-year-old children, no period of time is recommended for sedentary activities in front of a screen (watching TV or videos or playing computer games).
For those two years old, the sedentary time in front of the screens should not exceed one hour. The less the better. In times of inactivity, it is recommended that a caregiver read or tell stories;
They should have 11 to 14 hours of good quality sleep, including naps, with regular times to sleep and wake up.
Children from three to four years old
They must spend at least 180 minutes in various types of physical activities at any intensity. At least 60 minutes should involve moderate to high intensity activities, spread over the day. The more the better;
They should not be contained for more than an hour in a row – for example, in strollers – or sitting for long periods. The time devoted to sedentary activities in front of the screens should not exceed one hour. The less the better. In times of inactivity, it is recommended that a caregiver read or tell stories;
They should have 10 to 13 hours of good quality sleep, which may include naps, with regular times for sleeping and waking up.
I hope you like the information! Until the next column.
Text written by Psychologist Amanda Pascoal