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What can I do to limit video game playing today?

The number one rule is start early!

  • Do not put television sets, computers, and gaming consoles in children’s bedrooms, or remove them while your kids are still young. The longer you wait the more protest you’ll get. Studies have shown that kids who have access to gaming in their bedrooms play more hours per day than kids who don’t.

If your child is a little older and already used to pretty flexible rules about video game playing, then start small.

  • Don’t expect to change all the rules overnight. Gradually helping your kids to see all the other great playtime options they have will ensure that they feel the change in rules is fair and mutual.
  • Discuss the changes with your children so that they feel they have some say in the new rules. You might be surprised by the input they have to offer.
  • Once the new rules are in place, however, stick to them.  If you and your child agreed that one and a half hours per day is the new rule, don’t let them play for two hours. Otherwise the old playing habits will resurface before you know it.
  • Try not to nag your kids about how much they are playing. You’ve heard the saying “you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar?” Try to remind them warmly and casually when they’ve had enough game time.
  • Suggesting alternatives to video gaming is much better than simply making them stop playing.
    • If you kids have other options to choose from they are less likely to sit around, feel bored, and want to pick up the video game controls again.
    • Get back to basics when it comes to games and toys. Especially if the weather is nice, remember how much fun it used to be to play with jump ropes, jacks, or sidewalk chalk? Reintroduce those good old fashioned toys.
    • On colder weather days, websites such as activitiesforkids.com, creativekidsathome.com are filled with ways to have fun away from electronic media.
  • Take a step beyond just suggesting other activities and make sure you have necessary materials and non-electronic games available for your child.
  • As your kids grow into their teen years, it will be harder to institute new rules, so again the earlier you make the decision to change the rules, the better