According to child development experts, your child should have 1-2 hours of screen time per day. This includes the time they spend playing games, surfing the internet and watching TV. If your kid plays a favorite game for 45 minutes, watches one TV program and still manage to get homework done, you need not be concerned by limiting his game time. But if he or she spends hours on end playing computer or video games, you need to set limits. Below are some tips on how to check your child’s video playing tendencies.
Tip#1: Set time limit
A reasonable time limit is one hour of playing video games during school nights. On the weekends, you can allow them 2 hours a day of playing. Some TVs on which games are played come with built-in timers. Use this to regulate the play time.
Tip#2: Set an example
Set an example by limiting your own time on computer, smartphone and TV. Also, ensure that your child sees you reading. You will find it very hard teaching your kids how to balance usage of media if you cannot do the same. By leading by example, you can tell your kids that it is not good to watch TV all day as there are other things that matter more.
Tip#3: Suggest alternative activities when playing time is up
Alternative activities include reading a story book with you, playing board games, or even doing exciting arts and craft project. The intention is to ease your child away from video games.
Tip#4: Insist that chores or homework be competed first before playing video games
This in itself helps you raise your kids knowing that there are other important things apart from simply playing video games or watching TV. Allow them only once they have done their homework or completed house chores.
Tip#5: Write down the rules
After determining the time limits as well as other policies for your kids, it is important that you have them put down in writing. You can then post these rules on a central location where all your kids will be seeing them clearly. The more they read the rules, the more it sticks in their minds. Even if one of your children wants to break the rules, someone else other than you will remind them. There is also a chance that a child who goes against the rules will be reported to you, which makes controlling them easier.
Tip#6: Put the video game system where you can watch your children playing
A good place is the family room which makes it easy for you to supervise your child. It also enables you to enforce the rules you have set regarding the video game. If you put the game console in your child’s bedroom, it gives them too much freedom to play unsupervised. Also, this can cause a lot of temptation, especially for younger kids who still find it difficult to follow rules.
Video game addiction can be a very big problem for your child. However, it is a problem that you can nip right in the bud. Set time limits for playing the game, suggest alternatives to video games, insist that they only play after finishing their chores or homework and watch the time that you spend on computer, TV or smartphone.