12 Dec Video Games: How to Set Limits on Play Time
Is Your Child Playing Video Games Too Much?
Most parents feel that their kids are playing video games too long. It may not be as bad as you think. If you haven’t read our original article on video game playing time, take a look at what 4 questions to ask yourself to determine if your kids’ video game playing time is too much. Maybe don’t show this to your kids. 🙂
If Your Kids Need More Limits
If video game playing is interfering with academics, socialization, sleep, or family time, then you may need to rethink the video game playing rules in your home.
6 Rules You Will Want to Start Today
1) Set limits on the times of day when video game play is allowed.
After school may be a great time for kids to unwind and relax from their busy school day, but playing video games right before bed may make it difficult for them to relax and fall asleep. We recommend setting a certain number of games and/or time limit on video games that can be played after school before homework must begin. Because some games can last longer than others and it is difficult for the adults to monitor how many games are played, a good rule of thumb is “you may play X number of games or one hour, whichever is longer and then you must turn off the video game and begin your homework.” Set a timer to help younger children (and resistant teens) know when their time is up.
2) If your child does not follow rule #1, then for every minute the child plays longer than an hour, that time is deducted from the next day (or several days) of game time. When your child can abide by the rules for three consecutive days, he can go back to following rule #1. Natural consequences- they work!
3) Your child should not have any personal contact with online people he meets while playing video games. Stress the importance of internet and video game safety. If your child is ever contacted privately by someone he has not met before, the child must delete that person and not give any personal information or have conversations with that person. Stress the fact that even thought the other person SAYS he is your age, it doesn’t mean he is telling the truth.
4) Homework and required/requested chores must be completed before another round of video game time can begin in the same day. On weekends, feel free to allow more leeway in this area. Long term assignments need not be completed, but you may set measurable small steps that must be completed.
5) Allow your child to earn extra video game time by engaging with peers (may be a great incentive for kids who find socialization a struggle), family, and other interactions.
6) Do NOT take away video games as a universal punishment unless the use of video games is breaking the rules or interfering with the four areas discussed in the above-cited article. The mere fact that you know your child loves to play video games should not be used against her. Nor should it be the “go to” consequence when you can’t think of a more appropriate one that matches the misdeed. Remember, our goal as parents is to teach our children, not punish them.
Dori earned her Master of Social Work from The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Jane Addams College of Social Work in 1997. She also has a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dori has worked with children, adolescents, and families since 1994 in several areas of social work including: foster care, schools, hospitals, and private practice. She earned her Type 73 school social work certification in 1997 and has worked with children of all needs in the public schools for 7 years. She knows the importance of collaborating with parents, teachers and school staff (with parental consent) to provide the most beneficial services. Dori has also been interviewed on ABC and NBC news as an expert discussing therapeutic topics and articles she has written. As a wife and mother of three, she understands the challenges and rewards of raising children and is compassionate about helping children and families navigate the difficult times. Dori prides herself on being a valuable coach and “cheerleader” to the families she serves and strives to give families the tools they will need to improve their quality of life long after therapy ends. As a wife, and mother of three, she understands the challenges and joys of raising children and works with you every step of the way.