How to Get Your Child Off Computer/Video Games

Top Ten Tips to Limit Your Child’s Screen Time without Scream Time!

By Judy Arnall
Eight year old Kyle received no less than nine new computer and video games for the holidays and his parents are wondering how to keep him under the health professionals’ recommended screen time limit of one and a half hours a day without Kyle throwing a fit.
It can be difficult to impose rules on time spent in front of the TV, video machine, DVD and handheld players, but it’s not impossible. Here are the top ten ways to help your child manage screen time and not destroy your valuable parenting relationship.
  1. Redirect to other stimulation. Have board games set up, sports equipment ready to go, or recipe ingredients laid out ready for a baking session.
  2. Be involved and knowledgeable of where they travel on the Internet and whom they play games with. Spend time building the parent-child relationship by taking an interest in their on-line gaming and chatting pursuits. It’s easier to direct them to your activities after you connect for a while in their playground.
  3. Don’t punish – problem solve! It’s not a battle of you against them. It’s you and your child against the problem. You are both on the same team! Work the problem out together to everyone’s satisfaction and enjoy the new rules and increased connection.
  4. Model a balanced life that includes seven keys to health and happiness. Invite your child toparticipate with you in your pursuit of the seven keys of a balanced life. Many children willget active if the parents or the whole family is involved:
  5. 7 Keys to a Balanced Life
    Social time – time spent with friends
    Physical activity time – exercise, sports, active play
    Mental exercise time – educational activities, games, puzzles, homework, reading
    Spiritual time – volunteering, meditating, solitude, unstructured play, church
    Family time – doing projects
    Financial time – job
    Hobby Time – leisure pursuits and projects
  6. Negotiate! Make good use of Family Conferences, “parent concern” Consulting, and negotiation sessions to discuss time limits that meet everyone’s needs.
  7. Issue time tokens. Each hour of physical activity will garner a child an hour of screen time.
  8. Get it in writing. Draw up a daily schedule and discuss where screen time fits in with the day’s already scheduled activities. Children can sign into time slots.
  9. Contract. Draw up a weekly or monthly agreement that has limits decided by both the parent and child together. Display in a prominent place. Point to it when the complaining occurs. Discuss when the contract is up for renewal.
  10. Change the environment. Sometimes, it’s easier to move around the setting than to change the other person. Seriously consider whether adding more equipment and hardware will add to the screen time and decide to not bring it into the house. Move the computer and gaming systems into the main family area. Having one unit for the children to share means more fighting over screen time, but can also mean more time spent in learning the valuable skill of negotiating and less individual screen time.
  11. (Bonus!) Teach your child the fine art of Haggling! “Hey, Eric, Wow, you made another level! Good for you! Now, I need you to do the dishes. What time would you like to get at them?” Insist they give you a time and haggle when they give you an outrageous one. Choice from your child makes it easier for them to abide by it.

Remember that you have the most power to negotiate rules and limits before the power button goes on! Go for it!
Judy Arnall is a professional international award-winning Parenting Speaker, and Trainer, Mom of five children, and author of the best-selling, “Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery” She specializes in “Parenting the Digital Generation” and is available for keynotes or breakouts on many net generation topics http://www.professionalparenting.ca/ (403) 714-6766 jarnall@shaw.ca
Copyright permission granted for “reproduction without permission” of this article in whole or part, if the above credit is included in its entirety.

Posted by Judy Arnall, Author of “Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery” at 12:08 PM
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4 thoughts on “How to Get Your Child Off Computer/Video Games

  1. Very good article. I’ve found your blog via Google and I’m really glad about the information you provide in your articles. Btw your blogs layout is really messed up on the Kmelon browser. Would be cool if you could fix that. Anyhow keep up the great work!

    Like

  2. I’m so glad that I found this. There is so little to help with small children and the computer. My son is already limited to 30 minutes daily. I realized the addictive capacity of the computer had reached my child when he had more pleasure seeing his toys on the computer than actually playing with those exact same toys really sitting in his bedroom. The thrill of the fantasy overpowered reality. His best memories revolve around the screen (and we DO fun stuff!). He prefers computer to toys, friends, family, and playing outside. He’s five. Scary. I hope to see more and more about raising the digital generation.

    Like

  3. This is one of the first insightful articles that I’ve read. They actually try to balance out the lifestyle and still allow them to play video games.

    Like

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