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How would decreasing gaming time affect my child socially?

You might be concerned that, because other parents may not be doing the same thing, limiting your child’s game time will also limit the time he or she spends with friends. You might also worry that other kids won’t think your house is very fun to hang out at if you have different rules about gaming than other parents do. To some extent, there is truth to these concerns. You may not be able to control these possibilities, but there are ways to lessen the impact on your child’s social life.

  • Discuss the changes with your child before his or her friends are around. That way you won’t risk having an argument in front of them.
  • Try not to “harp” on your kids and their friends 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 after, say, sixty minutes each day.
    • If all the kids have other great options to choose from they are less likely to sit around, feel bored, and want to pick up the video game controls again.
    • Websites such as activitiesforkids.com and 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, some sports equipment, and non-electronic games available for your child and his/her friends.
  • Remember that decreasing the time your child spends doing a really popular activity might not go over so well with his or her friends. Continue to touch base with your child about what others are saying and how he or she feels about the changing rules.
  • As your kids grow into their teen years, it will be harder to institute new rules, so the earlier you make the decision the better
  • Also, more bargaining will be necessary as your kids become more independent and have a greater need to make their own gaming choices.  
    • For example, you might tell your teen that you’ll decrease an unhealthy activity of their choice for one week if they decrease their game time for one week. (“I’ll only have one cheeseburger this week if you only play World of Warcraft one hour max per day.”) 
    • It might sound silly, and you want to tread carefully with this one, but there’s bound to be some activity or habit your teen would love to see you do less, too!

Helpful Websites:
http://www.activitiesforkids.com/
http://www.creativekidsathome.com/activities.shtml

http://mommysavers.com/kids-activities/fun-activities-kids.shtml

http://www.boardgames.com/