Setting a limit on the number of hours your kids spend playing video games can help instill a sense of responsibility into their lives. They can’t access their games once the ‘curfew’ is enforced, forcing them to spend the rest of the day doing other things. So, where do you start?
#1: Acknowledge that Gaming is Entertaining for your Child
Before you take any drastic measures, accept the fact that your child loves video games. He or she gets entertained playing and could spend hours in front of the screen. Being an understanding parent helps to prevent several things.
First, you won’t always burst into anger every time you find your son or daughter playing. You already know your child play games for fun. So, even if they do it more than they should, there is no reason to raise your voice or become edgy about it.
#2: Set Gaming Rules and Schedule for your Family
Like everything else in your home, set gaming rules. Teach your child that there’s a time for everything, and gaming is only one of them. Most kids under 12 have no problems following their parents’ rules. If you decide they should only play for two hours after doing homework, they will most likely listen to you.
Trouble starts when dealing with teenagers. They love and respect you. But when you’re not around, they do what they want. Some kids may also be addicted to video games, which make it difficult to follow your house rules. Don’t worry though. There is a solution.
#3: Get Parental Control Software
Parental controls are not only time saving but they are also effective at what they do. Basically, you create an account and install parental control apps on the laptops and phones your kids use for gaming. Most parental control software programs have features related to video games.
While the companies are different, you get features to add popular gaming sites for your kids. You could also enter the names of the games. Once you set a gaming schedule, the software will monitor your kids until their gaming time is over. They’re then disconnected from gaming platforms or from the Internet altogether.
Some companies, like Qustodio parental control, go beyond video gaming management. Qustodio helps you control all popular websites and apps that your kids visit. From adult sites to online alcohol shops, religious news to social networks—the software is designed to be your assistant in controlling what your child does when online.
#4: Create an Approach
While parental control software can keep your child off the Internet, it takes more than that to make them love other things. If your child is addicted to video games, consider using one of several approaches to help them transit off the addiction.
For starters, create a system where she or he earns their video game time. In this system, video games are a privilege and something has to be done to earn that privilege. As a parent, you know best what responsibilities you would want your child to start completing.
Get them to do laundry or mow the lawn. They could also complete homework and spend several hours reading before they earn video game time. You must also be strict and avoid negotiations. If this isn’t your system, however, become the parent who writes all rules down.
You come up with rules in your house and write them on a whiteboard. When your child asks to play, remind them of your family policies. Reinforce your policies with parental controls, so that the child can’t be tempted to break the rules when you are away.
#5: Set Consequences
Not even parental control software can totally prevent a determined child to play video games. If there’s a phone in your house that isn’t covered by parental control, it could be used to access gaming sites. To prevent a situation where your child can get around your rules, create consequences for their actions.
If you decide that gaming is a privilege that should be earned, withdraw this privilege every time your rules are broken. Make work easy for you by locating gaming devices in one section of your house. It is more difficult for your child to spend all night gaming when their gaming laptop is located in the living room.
Again, spell out the consequence of breaking gaming rules in your house early enough. A good time to do this is when informing your child of your new policies. Make them understand why consequences are important and why they should follow rules.
#6: Work on Transition to Non-Gaming Activities
Telling your child that spending less time off the screen is great but they need guidance on their transition toward doing other things. Picture this. You also don’t get off work and start doing something else immediately. You take time gather your stuff and say goodbye to workmates. If you’re like most people, you also have to spend more time traveling by car, train or bus.
When it comes to transitioning from video games, create a smooth transition process. For your kinds, make them take the shower. Give them a cup of coffee and chat a little bit before guiding them on the next order of business.
Older kids also require a smooth transition process. Once your parental software locks them out of gaming, they shouldn’t be allowed to get into bed or go away. Let there be a transition program from gaming to reading or mowing the lawn.
Almost every child that owns a smartphone and laptop has tried video gaming before. It’s the way of life for many kids, so don’t get scared that your child spends too much time in front of computers. Instead, find a way to limit their gaming time. Set rules and policies to dictate when they should play. Install parental software to monitor their gaming behavior when you’re away but also guide them on things to do when not gaming.