Since Jonah was a baby, I was always aware of the sedentary behaviour guidelines and made sure that he was never in a sedentary position for too long. This meant that I didn’t leave him in his car seat or in the swing for long periods of time when he was awake. Before the age of 2, he wasn’t allowed any screen time and once it was introduced, I tried to keep it minimal. As he got older, it was clear that he loved sports and keeping him active was easy. On days where the weather wasn’t great or he didn’t have any planned sports activities, I found that he didn’t go to sleep as easily or sleep as well. I was always interested in learning more about appropriate movement guidelines for his age.
The New 24-Hour Movement Guidelines
I recently read about the new 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth Aged 5-17 years) which stress that, when it comes to children’s health, the whole day matters, not just the time they are awake.
It’s no secret that boys are busy and need to be active, but girls do too! I have always given my kids choice when it comes to the activities that they do so that I know they are enjoying the time they are active. I believe that it is important to give your children the freedom to choose when possible, and that it makes everyone’s life so much easier when planned out correctly. The Build Your Best Day online experience is designed for kids and adults to have fun and ensure that the guidelines are being met. To put the site to the test, I sat down with Jonah to look at the Build Your Best Day program and followed the steps to get started. Before planning out his day, this is what we learned:
● SWEAT – Your child’s best day wouldn’t be complete without at least 60 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity each day.
● STEP – You can’t have a best day without several hours of light physical activity, especially outdoors.
● SIT – Try not to spend more than 2 hours a day on a screen or sitting for long periods. Get out and be active!
● SLEEP – End your day with a night of uninterrupted sleep
○ 5 to 13 year olds need 9 to 11 hours of sleep
○ 14 to 17 year olds need 8 to 10 hours of sleep
Planning activities in your day
Most days, Jonah has an activity after school. He loves to play hockey and does so 3 times a week. On those days, I know that the 60 minutes of sweat will be no problem! On the other days, even though the weather is getting colder, we make sure he stays active doing activities he loves, like riding his scooter. Just don’t forget to dress appropriately!
We started looking at the Build Your Best Day program together. We chose 5 activities for the morning, 5 for the afternoon, 4 for the evening, and then one for before bed. As we went along, it gave us the opportunity to change our choices and at the end, and it gave us a breakdown of how we did.
We were pleased to see that he would be sweating more than enough, but had to make some changes to ensure that he was getting enough “step” throughout the day well. When we were all done, we downloaded Jonah’s ‘Best Day’ to hang on the fridge to remind us of the choices we made.
I absolutely love the ideas that the program offers for the different activities. For example, one of the option is “catch frogs” which is a step activity. It gave me ideas for fun games that I can play with my kids throughout the day! It also reminded me that just because he isn’t sitting in front of a TV, sitting playing with blocks or doing a puzzle counts towards sedentary time. This reminded me to break up those activities and keep him moving to ensure his Best Day!