The early years are a very important time in which children begin to develop cognitive and social skills that will be the foundation to more complex skill development in the future. Maintaining safe and healthy routines that include both active and sedentary play, as well as the recommended sleep for each age group is very important.

The Australian Government has published their 24-hour movement guidelines to promote healthy growth and development, and our team at Early Start Programs thought such valuable information had to be shared with educators, centre leaders, and families.

Babies – under 1 year of age

The Government recommends that infants be physically active several times a day. Early Start Programs are partnered with a number of programs that provide opportunity for supervised, floor-based play in a way that is interactive and hands on for infants, including Fun-Key Yoga and Physi Kids.

It is also recommended in the guidelines that infants engage in sedentary behaviour such as singing and storytelling with caregivers. Early Start Programs connects childcare centers with programs like Hey Dee Ho Music and Mini Maestros, who provide exciting sensory experiences to babies.

Babies aged 0 to 3 months should have 14 to 17 hours of sleep included in their days, and once they reach 4 months of age, sleep should be reduced to 12 to 16 hours, respecting their individual needs.

Toddlers – 1-2 years

The Australian 24-hour movement guidelines outline that toddlers should be spending at least 180 minutes engaging in a variety of physical activities. Early Start Programs provide sport and physical activity opportunities for toddlers that are excellent for encouraging development and learning healthy habits and attitudes, like Future Champs, Active 8 and Ready Steady Go Kids.

Sedentary activities like reading, singing, puzzles and storytelling are also recommended by the Australian guidelines. Our partner providers offer amazing programs as incursions to early education services, including excellent music programs that stimulate children to be creative and confident.

11 to 14 hours of daily good quality sleep are recommended to this age group.

Pre-Schoolers – 3-5 years

At this age, the recommendations include a total of 180 minutes spent in a variety of physical activities, with at least 60 minutes of this time spent in high-energy play. Early Start Programs provides a spectrum of energetic and fun physical activity including yoga, dancing, and sports.

The guidelines further recommend sedentary time spent in quiet activities like reading, singing, puzzles and storytelling. Some of children’s favourite options are arts and crafts and foreign language lessons.  Early Start Programs partner with LCF Fun Languages to immerse children in languages in a play-based approach including songs, stories and art and craft.

The Early Start Programs provide a supportive environment where children engage in both active and sedentary play and activities that help them develop confidence and social skills for life. We connect outstanding programs with early education and care services that are committed to offering the highest quality of care. If you would like to know more about our programs and implement them at your service, get in touch with us today.


You can access the guidelines in full here, and order free resources for educators and families here.

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