Set Aside Screen Time #MakeRoomForPlay and ParticipACTION

Set Aside Screen Time #MakeRoomForPlay and ParticipACTION

Back In The Day

When I was a little girl, I remember jumping rope, riding my bike, playing in the sandbox, playing with my dolls and opening up my imagination until the sun went down. I am sure I was bored at times but for the most part I don’t remember boredom at all. My imagination was open to wonder and explore my surroundings. I would get lost for hours playing with my Barbie’s or making mud pies. It was the simple things that made me happiest. Somewhere during my childhood “Pac Man” came along as fun and it didn’t eat up much of my time. Besides watching “Flintstones” at lunch time, I don’t remember watching much TV as a kid.

Requests That Stress

Today I find it a huge challenge and a constant battle, fighting off every request I get “Can we watch Netflix?” or, “Mommy I have been good today can I play the game?” It is actually something that stresses me out completely. I have never had “screen children” and I don’t want that for my kids. However, there is something addicting about “the screen” that they cannot get enough of. This addiction causes mommy stress and sends emotions flying from all angles. Plus, with smart boards in each of their school classrooms, our kids are coming home and talking about the YouTube channel they watched, or the documentary they saw at school. Don’t get me wrong, you can learn a lot from a screen, but everything in moderation is the key to bigger success in life.

Make Room For Play - ParticipACTION  ParticipACTION Changing The Child

This Christmas our son asked for a very popular game for our families called Wii. He got that game from Santa and of course, what is a game from Santa if you cannot play it? Mommy and Daddy let screen time increase a little over the holidays for him and his siblings to really enjoy some time with the new game. We even got in there and enjoyed some rounds with the kids. I will tell you the kids’ emotions turned high strung and sibling rivalry was at an all-time high. We had to intervene, and since Christmas the game has maybe been played for a maximum of five hours in total. The evidence was clearly placed in front of us, and the effects of increased screen time were negative.

Did you know?

The average Canadian child spends 7 hours and 48 minutes a day in front of screens – that’s almost a 40-hour work week. [1]  However, only 54 per cent of parents are concerned about the screen-time habits of their children. Too much screen time can make it hard for a child to sleep at night, raise a child’s risk of attention problems, and leave less time for active, creative play.[2]

The good news – 87 per cent of parents say they plan to make physical activity a priority for their children in the New Year, and ParticipACTION’s Make Room for Play campaign offers a great opportunity to help parents get their children more active.

ParticipACTION’s Make Room for Play campaign includes a series of four 30-second videos running on television, in cinema and online, supported by digital ads, social media and tips and tools for parents and caregivers.

Make Room For Play with Hockey

Are you looking for ways to reduce screen time and increase play time in your home?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Make family rules that limit how much screen time your kids are allowed each day.
  • Eliminate background TV as it’s likely to draw your child’s attention. Instead, turn on music.
  • Set a good example and limit your own screen time.
  • For younger children, avoid using screens as an “electronic babysitter”.
  • For older children, don’t allow a TV, computer, or cell phone in your child’s bedroom.

Make Room For Play - ParticipACTION  ParticipACTION


How are you going to #MakeRoomforPlay today?

Visit for more ways to take action and make room for play.

Like PARTICIPaction on Facebook | Follow PARTICIPation on Twitter | Join the conversation #MakeRoomForPlay

Thank you for reading In R Dream!

From December 22 to December 29, 2014, an online survey was conducted among a sample of 1005 Canadian adults age 18+ who are parents of children 0-12 years old and are also Angus Reid Forum panel members. The margin of error — which measures sampling variability — is +/-3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The sample was balanced by age of child to provide equal representation. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.  

[1]Active Healthy Kids Canada (2012). Is Active Play Extinct?: The Active Healthy Kids Canada report card on physical activity for children and youth 2012, Toronto, ON.

[2]Tremblay, MS, et al. (2011). Systematic review of sedentary behavior and health indicators in school-aged children and youth. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2011, 8:98  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-8-98.

15 thoughts on “Set Aside Screen Time #MakeRoomForPlay and ParticipACTION”

  • This is a really great idea. All of my kids love there screen time, even my 3 year old loves to use the iPad. Getting them outside more often to play is really important.

  • Hi Tammy,
    Just recently I had heard the same suggestion: Set screen time.
    I have been wanting to do this at our house.
    We don’t have the plan established yet but I think it will be on an earning and reward system and then it will be only a certain number of minutes.
    For tv, limit it to one episode then tv off.
    Isn’t it crazy how addicting it can be for everyone…us included?!?!

    • Jessica thanks for your comment. We don’t have a “set screen” either we just go with the flow of the day. Although with the game the kids have to earn an opportunity to play it, like you mentioned. We use chores (which is a great way to get a clean house.) Yes you are right addicting for us all! Join the conversation #MakeRoomforPlay!

  • My son loves his screen time too. We limit his screen time each day. We try to incorporate outdoor play everyday (weather dependent) which is good for all of us. We also love to play board games together as a family which is a lot of fun!

  • My girls like screen time too, especially my oldest… but even my youngest (almost two) will grab a movie and ask to watch it. I try to limit it and to find other things for them to play. 🙂

  • Outside time is crucial.. fresh air, being active, when the temps don’t allow for it, we have to adjust accordingly, somtimes housework goes put off… laundry doesn’t get caught up.. but we’re busy, occupying each other.. enjoy these times, as children approach preteen/teenage years, you quickly become the last person they come to to ask to play a game .. or watch a movie.. soon they’re heading off to watch a movie with someone else, of the opposite sex,..

    • Darlene you are such a great mother! Your words are an inspiration, yes this time is so precious and regret is an emotion we don’t want to have looking back. Please join the conversation #MakeRoomforPlay!

  • My children are screen children. They both gravitate to it naturally…likely since there mommy is one too. I do make an effort to ensure they get outdoor play and read real books made from paper. My oldest son doesn’t sleep well, at all, and I know the screens are a part of it.

  • My boys definitely love their screen time, when we kick them off of the PS3 they move on to the 3DS lol I wish the weather was nicer so we could send them outside more, but it’s brutal! On family day we played UNO for over 2 hours straight and had a blast!

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