Being a parent to a gaming obsessed kid can be tough! I know exactly how it feels. When my younger one started with the iPad, I never knew it would turn into gaming obsession this soon.
It all started from Minecraft and kept on increasing until he was spending 3-4 hours everyday on these games.
I tried what every other mother would do starting with scolding him, cutting his chocolates and ice creams and even hiding the iPad. But, nothing worked.
One day, I decided that I should probably accept it and rather adopt a positive approach towards it.
And, believe me, IT WORKED!
So, I thought I should share it with all parents who are having game-obsessed kids (I know most of you are!)
Here’s how you can also tame the gaming obsession positively.
1. Accept that Your Kid Enjoys Games
Like I said, the very first thing you have to do is to accept that kids love games (even if you don’t).
And, don't get stressed that you failed as mother just because your kid likes those addictive clicker games more than reading or any other outdoor sport.
Our responsibility as a parent is just to ensure whatever game he or she is playing is not dangerous or illegal. That's it.
2. Choose Your Approach
You have to get your child to understand that gaming is allowed but NOT ALWAYS. So, I found that there can be two approaches for this. You can use either of the two depending upon your child’s behavior.
Gaming as a Reward
It is very simple. Remember you used to give chocolates to your younger one when they did something good? Well, just replace the chocolate with a fixed period of playing their favorite video games.
This is a win-win situation for you as a mother as well as for your kid.
My rule for this was eating broccoli for lunch would be 30 minutes of gaming; completing the homework would be another 30 minutes.
It works every time and puts your kid in discipline as well. Your kid would also get a sense of earning his/her gaming hours on their own.
If your kid is a bit rebellious in nature, you can use the second approach i.e. scheduling.
Gaming as a Schedule
Just come up with a smart schedule that defines the gaming hours or gaming days very clearly. And, put it up on your kid’s room wall or at any place in the house where both of you can see it regularly.
Every time, they see it, they know exactly when they can play their favorite games without you hovering at their head.
It also gives them a sense of independence that they always yearn for.
3. Balance Screen Time and Outdoor Time
Another positive change that you can bring in kid’s gaming obsession is by balancing their screen time with the outdoor time.
Believe me, You would be able introduce a habit of playing outdoors without your kid even realising it.
And eventually, they will willingly go outdoors leaving that iPad or smartphone behind.
All you need to do is to make the reward system or schedule. It should be done in a way that if they are playing video games for an hour as their reward, they must go out for a stroll or cycling for 10 minutes.
Or, you schedule a day of gaming along with a day of outdoor time.
Apart from these three things, there are some minor habits that can help your kid to reduce the gaming obsession. Make sure you sit down with them every once in a while and read an interesting story to them or tell them about inspiring people.
In these times when technology is all around us, gaming obsession is something every common. But, it is not something that cannot be controlled.
You just have to adopt a positive attitude towards it!
I hope my experience would also help you to handle your kid’s gaming obsession with ease and positivity.