If you have children or grandchildren aged 5/6 years, it will probably have happened, at least once, to see them busy with their portable video game or concentrated on the home computer , unable to detach themselves from their video game and regardless of any external stimulus and than any other possibility of entertainment. In fact, a very close bond is established very soon between children and video games which almost ends up creating a sort of addiction.
Mind you: the problem lies not in the use of the video game itself, but in the abuse that is made too often. The speed of the action, the rapid succession of different situations, the fun or suspense generated by the narrative plot, the realism or the charm of the settings capture the attention of the little ones with extreme ease, pushing them to forget or to put aside all the rest and influencing, in some cases, even behavior.
The real challenge for a parent is not to categorically prohibit video games but to push their child to balance their pastimes , to know how to dedicate different times to different activities and to be aware of the importance of the time available . For this reason, prohibitions, imperatives and “impact methods” (such as unplugging the screen , removing games from the home computer and the like) are not particularly suitable, as their first effect is not to divert the attention of the child from playbut to make him feel frustrated. Perceiving yourself as the victim of an injustice, your child will take advantage of all the opportunities to cultivate his passion for video games “secretly”, also devising some subterfuge and soon learning to get around obstacles …
Much better, therefore, to try with strategies aimed at empowering the child , as a parent explains on the American blog Eartheasy , telling his own personal experience. Here are his recommendations, from parent to parent:
- Play a video game with your child
- For a week, take note of the time your child spent playing video games
- Show your child which and how many other activities he or she could fill the time frame they spend on video games
- Organize home or outdoor activities for your child and friends
- Embark on a long-term project of your choice with your child
- Recognize your child’s accomplishments in video game “replacement” activities
- Make the family have lunch and / or dinner together
Play a video game with your child
Let your kid show you his favorite video games and teach you how to play. Whatever your opinion on the game in question (educational, fun or censurable …), you will have shown your child that you are open to novelties and that you have no preclusions towards his world and his choices. In a nutshell, you will be offering him an example to follow and you will be more credible when you ask him not to spend all the time on video games and to devote himself to other activities.
For a week, take note of the time your child spent playing video games
Ask your child to keep a journal of the time spent playing or keep it in their place. After a week, draw a small graph starting from this diary (there is no need for overly complex and elaborate schematizations or diagrams: you just have to offer your little one an immediately understandable visual representation of the free time he spent in front of the screen). In this way, not only will you help your child quantify the time he spends playing but, when you tell him that he spends too many hours focusing only on video games, you will have evidence to show him to strengthen your claim!
Show your child which and how many other activities he or she could fill the time frame they spend on video games
Striving a bit ‘, you can make a list of activities recreational, entertainment or sports that your son could play in the timeframe dedicated to video games daily. He could learn to play a musical instrument , or try his hand at a sport , play outdoors, ride a bicycle , take care of a garden … and perform many other simple activities to which the game ends up stealing time. The goal is for the child to understand that the time spent playing prevents him from doing something else and that this something else could be pleasant, rewarding and fun even more than a video game.
Organize home or outdoor activities for your child and friends
Help your child to conceive and organize alternative activities and pastimes to video games, perhaps involving his friends: the possibilities are so many – from timeless outdoor games , perfect if you have a little space, to board games , to read , to design , to the kitchen … – just choose the activity on the basis of character, talent and your child’s tastes, so that you can find pleasant and attractive.
Embark on a long-term project of your choice with your child
Children are not used to thinking or acting in the long run, but they always choose activities that offer immediate results, fun and gratifications : just like video games. Then try to involve them in a long-lasting project that is consistent with their character and that can tickle their curiosity. The possibilities are almost endless: planting and growing flowers in the garden , committing to take care of them and take care of them, or build a house for dolls or a skateboard , sew and decorate a Carnival dress or costume… in short, be creative and, above all, commit yourself to follow and support your children in the realization of their project, helping them both to find the necessary tools and materials and to complete the work.
Recognize your child’s accomplishments in video game “replacement” activities
Children love to be gratified: this is one of the reasons for the success of video games, which more often than not offer immediate recognition. For this reason, when your child engages in activities other than video games, always remember to recognize and praise his commitment and underline his results , so that he is stimulated to perfect and improve his performances.
Make the family have lunch and / or dinner together
The video game is a solitary pastime: even when playing in company, one is always very focused on oneself and one does not spend energy on socializing. This loneliness must be somehow balanced by creating opportunities for dialogue and communication : for example, meals represent precious moments in which the family can get together and tackle the most diverse topics together. So, make a commitment to dedicate at least one meal a day to your loved ones and to dialogue with your children!