Way, way back in the dark ages otherwise known as “The 1980s,” we had one video game system in my house. Nintendo was the epitome of having arrived, and we thought we were so cool with our Mario Bros., Simpsons adventures, and the occasional rental from the video store (“Ma, what’s a video store?”). Having one game system is relegated to “back in my day” status — nowadays most households own more than one, simply because there are more products available to play games on. They are accessible not only on traditional TV systems and handhelds, but also PC’s, mobile devices such as iPads, phones, Leapads, and VTechs. One would think with so much accessibility, with a myriad of devices to choose from, children would be satisfied.
However, if being a parent has taught us anything, children are almost never satisfied. What one child has, the other wants, and sharing can be a hard concept to teach. And what about limiting screen time? What is a parent to do in this new age – How to Prevent Video Game Tantrums?
1. Have the Kids Go Outside
Remember the Outside? Plus the Outside has the best graphics.
2. Set Time Limits
You can use an egg timer, or the alarm on your phone to limit the amount of screen time your kids have each day.
3. Hide and Seek
Hide the games – out of sight, out of mind. If the kids ask where they are – and they will – say its a quest to find the games. Real life imitates art after all.
4. Use as Rewards
Great report card? No note from the teacher? Listened today and didn’t fight with a sibling? You get to play a video game! Reward your child’s good behavior.
5. Set a Good Example
Limit your own screen consumption; at least while the kids are around! Monkey see, monkey do.
6. Hang Out Together
When all else fails, distract them. Do an art project, take a walk, go on a museum outing. Chances are the kids will forget all about the video game when they get to spend time with a parent. Fingers crossed, at any rate!
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