Theme 4: Power OFF and Play!
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Theme 4: Power OFF and Play! 

Cartoon girl and real boy building a snowman

 Overview of Theme:

Theme 4 is all about helping children and families build a balanced day that is not filled with screen time.

"Screen time" is the time spent using a screen-based device, such as a smartphone, tablet, computer or TV. Not all screen time is unhealthy. A screen can offer an important way to learn and communicate at school and at work. Screens can even be used in an active way, like playing tennis, soccer, baseball or other sports games on a device.

Many kids use screens for recreational purposes, such as watching movies and playing games. They may be sitting, reclining or lying down the whole time they are using their device. This is called sedentary screen time and many children are getting too much of it. This kind of screen time could interfere with and take time away from healthy activities in their day and affect their health.

The focus of Theme 4 is on limiting children's recreational and sedentary screen time. Community-based initiatives can support a range of health benefits, while building on behaviours from Themes 1, 2, and 3. Communities can help build a balanced day that includes:

  • Putting screens away during important times of day (sleep time, meal and snack time)
  • Replacing screen time with other activities (physical activity, social interactions, and fun and educational activities)
  • Staying within the recommended screen time limits:
​Age ​Recommended hours of screen time
​under 2 years ​None A,C
​2-4 years ​Less than 1 hour a day A,C
​5-17 years ​No more than 2 hours of recreational screen time a day


A. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology's Canadian Sedentary Guidelines

B. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology's 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth

C. Canadian Pediatric Society's Position Statement on Screen Time and Young Children

It's all about powering off devices and playing more.