Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (0-4 years):

An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour and Sleep

The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years combine physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines into one, and include sleep; showing the interrelationship between all three behaviours. Canadian kids aged four and under are spending too much time in front of screens, which prevents them from meeting new movement behaviour guidelines. This current reality demonstrates that today’s release of the new Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years – a world’s first for this age group – couldn’t come at a better time.

These Guidelines were developed by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP), the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group (HALO) at the CHEO Research Institute, the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta, the Public Health Agency of Canada, ParticipACTION and a group of leading researchers from Canada and around the world, with input from over 600 national and international stakeholders.

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For healthy growth and development, infants, toddlers, and preschoolers should achieve the recommended balance of physical activity, high-quality sedentary behaviour, and sufficient sleep.

A healthy 24 hours includes

Infants (less than 1 year)

Move

Being physically active several times in a variety of ways, particularly through interactive floor-based play—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 to 17 hours (for those aged 0-3 months) or 12 to 16 hours (for those aged 4-11 months) of good-quality sleep, including naps.

Sit

Not being restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g., in a stroller or high chair). Screen time is not recommended. When sedentary, engaging in pursuits such as reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged.


Toddlers (1-2 years)

Move

At least 180 minutes spent in a variety of physical activities at any intensity, including energetic play, spread throughout the day—more is better.

Sleep

11 to 14 hours of good-quality sleep, including naps, with consistent bedtimes and wake-up times.

Sit

Not being restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g., in a stroller or high chair) or sitting for extended periods. For those younger than 2 years, sedentary screen time is not recommended. For those aged 2 years, sedentary screen time should be no more than 1 hour—less is better. When sedentary, engaging in pursuits such as reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged.


Preschoolers (3-4 years)

Move

At least 180 minutes spent in a variety of physical activities spread throughout the day, of which at least 60 minutes is energetic play—more is better.

Sleep

10 to 13 hours of good-quality sleep, which may include a nap, with consistent bedtimes and wake-up times.

Sit

Not being restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g., in a stroller or car seat) or sitting for extended periods. Sedentary screen time should be no more than 1 hour—less is better. When sedentary, engaging in pursuits such as reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged.

Replacing time restrained or sedentary screen time with additional energetic play, and trading indoor for outdoor time, while preserving sufficient sleep, can provide greater health benefits.