Kids should not be forced fed, Oz parenting guidelines

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Melbourne, Oct 22 (ANI): New parenting guidelines released by the Federal Government in Australia have stated that children should not be forced to clear their plates at meal times.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the Get Up And Grow guides, available free to every parent and childcare centre, recommends toddlers under two be banned from watching TV or using computers altogether.

And children aged between two and five should spend less than an hour a day in front of the television and computer and get at least three hours exercise a day.

The booklet advises parents about correct daily portion sizes of healthy food that should be fed to children, a serve of milk for a child aged under five is just 100ml, a serve of cheese is just 15g and a meat portion should be just 45g.

"If your child refuses to eat at any meal or snack do not force them to eat," the guide advised parents.

The guide provides healthy eating and exercise prescriptions for babies and children aged up to five developed by experts at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.

"New parents are bombarded with information and knowing what advice to take can often be difficult and stressful," News.com.au quoted Health Minister Nicola Roxon as saying.

"These guidelines are an evidence-based, easy to read resource parents can rely on when raising baby," she said.

Children aged five and under need three meals and two snacks per day and should eat chocolate, fruit juice, soft drinks, flavoured milk and takeaway very rarely.

Babies should be exercised and from the age of one should do at least three hours of active play a day.

Restraining children for more than one hour at a time in car seats, prams or high chairs is also frowned on because it limits a child's development and learning time.

The Australian Communication and Media Authority said four-month-old babies watch an average of 44 minutes of TV daily, while under-fours spend at least three hours a day in front of the screen.

But the new government guidelines state this is too much.

"Screen time is not recommended for babies and children less than two years of age, because it may reduce the amount of time they have for active play, social contact with others and chances for language development," it stated. (ANI)

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