It’s a weekend and you walk out to the living room to see that your child is on their phone playing their favorite video game. You tell them you’ll be out for an hour or so to fetch some groceries and run some errands. You come back home later than you anticipated but four hours later, you find your kid still in the same spot in the living room, their whole attention focused on their video games. Something is not right.
It used to be that the only ways you were able to play video games were playing in an arcade, a personal computer, or hooking up the wires from your console to an old box type television. Nowadays however it has increased its popularity and accessibility due to the rapid advancements in technology. Handheld gaming is a thing now!
While video games are certainly a great way to pass the time, there is a growing concern for people especially children where they spend excessive and concerning amounts of time playing video games.
If your child is having a hard time trying to stop or minimize his video gaming time, here are five steps to try to mend that.
Set a schedule and reasonable time limit for their game time
Before anything else, always try to set a limit for when and how much game time they are allotted every day. For example, if it’s a school day, set maybe only an hour of game time after all their chores and homework has been finished. On the weekend, set it maybe to a maximum amount of three hours.
Regulating their game time ensures that not only will they be able to be more productive and get more things done, but it also minimizes the chances that they will be highly addicted to the game.
Implement strict consequences for disobeying your rules
There will be times when your children will try to squeeze a few more minutes or even hours of game time even when you tell them to stop playing because they’ve been playing way past their allotted time limit.
When this occurs, punish them accordingly. This may be done in several ways such as reducing their allotted time limit or even banning them from playing for a certain amount of days.
Make game time into a reward
One trick to motivate your child into doing certain activities such as finishing their homework or cleaning their room is giving them incentives such as more game time. For example, if they’ve finished their homework but it’s a school night, tell them that they get an extra 30 minutes of game time because of their good work.
As an additional note, make sure to not overdo the reward system as discussed in our previous article, “How can I motivate my child?”
Expose them to new and different activities
There are more than a few ways to have fun without the involvement of video games. Some enjoyable physical activities such as basketball, biking, or football will even improve their physical health. Less physical activities like reading, drawing, playing an instrument will, on the other hand, improve their cognitive ability and even inspire them to create their own art.
Make them understand that in the end, its all just a game
Explaining to your child that their achievements, triumphs, and victories are all virtual and have no real bearing on their real-life may help them understand that they need to invest more in the real world than in the fantasy world.
Make them understand that real-life skills are worth the investment and that through those skills, they will be able to achieve their own kind of success.