Ok, ok, I’m not in total agreement with that heading. But I asked my son what I should write about and this was his idea and subject, of course!! However, I’m not against kids playing video games.
Yes, there are some games out there I restrict and I don’t think anyone should be playing, but that’s just my opinion. You don’t have to agree with me or even like what I’m saying, just putting in my two-cents about one of the most controversial topics in parenting.
When we first had children, I was very against anything video game. I was in that school of thought that video games rotted your brains. You know that old poster, this is your brain on drugs… That was the picture I had in my head about video games. This is your brain on video games.
No way was I going to go through all that work of parenting and then let video games take over.
A little time went by, and I started researching a few kid-like video game options. Really learning games! That was the introduction of video games into our children’s lives!
I had to figure out what kind of boundaries to put in place for these new electronic devices that had the potential of sucking the very life out of my sweet precious innocent children (just kidding, they were sweet & precious, not always so innocent though).
For a long time we had a reading rule in place. It was my way of trying to keep the video games at bay. The rule was, you must read one half hour each day, minimum (and not video game instructions or help guides), then you could play. But here was the clincher, they could only play as long as they read. So if they only read for that minimum half hour requirement, then they only played for a half hour.
My children became well aware of my trickiness and they started reading more. Win for me!! Yes, sometimes my kids would read for 2-4 hours, and then they would play for 2-4 hours. I was actually ok with this. They did what they were supposed to do, learning in the process.
Eventually, my daughter kept reading like crazy, score, and slowed the video game playing down. She became more interested in books than the games.
Now my son, is another story.
He loves video games. I could see him becoming a video game designer someday, if that’s what he’s called to do. The reading rule works well for him, but we have switched things up from time to time. Every once in a while, the reading rule is put aside and I allow him to play the amount of time he would like, only if his school work, chores and any other duties are done.
When I see that he’s playing too much, then we put the reading rule back into play.
You may agree or disagree with this method and that’s ok.
Some of my friends do other things. Like only playing on the weekends. Setting a certain time during the day to play. Earning play time from chores or other tasks being done. Really the possibilities are endless.
Now, I have seen the extreme of video game playing in children. Where there are no restrictions and no one is monitoring the type of games they are playing.
I firmly believe children need guidance and direction and life should not be a free-for-all for them. Just like anything that consumes us, we need limits. We as adults, usually can put those limits on ourselves. But, I think even we can have a hard time with it. Children need to be taught about limits. It begins with us giving them those limits, and then they can slowly learn how to put those limits on theirselves.
When I do limit my son’s playing time, I explain why I’m doing it. And more of an explanation than just your brain can turn to mush. I help him come up with other ideas of things to do. Other fun activities that he may enjoy that he didn’t realize was available to him.
Please don’t give up on your children by setting them free with video games or unlimited tv. They are so influential as children. Everyone and everything is fighting for their attention. Be sure that what they are watching, doing and saying is who you want them to be when they are adults.
Our world is a bit crazy right now, maybe it always has been.
Let’s be the stability in our children’s lives.
Let’s guide them to a better future.[separator type=”hb-fw-separator” go_to_top=”yes”]
Photo Credit: CanStock
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