June 16, 2010,
K.M. asks from Angola, LA on June 15, 2010
7 Year Old Getting Too Much Game/tv Time!
My 7 year old son is getting to much game and tv time. I have made him a daily schedule, but it seems thatt he is still getting too much. I told him one hr in the morning and one hr in the evening, but then there is still about two hrs of tv that he watches. Do you think this is to much? I would like too say that he does read about an hr and a half daily. I've been trying to get him to play with his toys more, but it's hard because he just doesn't seem interested in them much anymore. I would love to hear any suggestions. Thanks in advance....
R.J. answers from Seattle on June 15, 2010
I would say it depends on what he does the other 8-9 hours a day. If he's sitting at a desk in school/ chair to eat/ car to get to & from... then the only exercise he's getting is in his fingers & his mind.
If on the other hand he's super active during those 8 hours (aka not in school) but climbing trees, riding bikes, swimming, playing with friends, saving the world, playing sports or music, what have you... then it doesn't seem outlandish. But 4 hours a day of electronic time IS 1/3 of his day. If he's sitting on his bum for school then 91.6 percent of his day is spent not moving.
So how is his balance?
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K.S. answers from Minneapolis on June 15, 2010
I have a boy who will turn 7 in 2 months. I notice that if our son spends that much time in front of a screen he gets depressed and cranky. We limit TV or computer time to no more than 1.5 hours a day but usually less than an hour. One way we do it, is to use Accountable Kids for chores. He earns activity tickets and must use the tickets in order to get 1/2 hour of TV or computer as well as to play a game with us and some other special activities. He can earn 1 ticket for morning chores, one for afternoon chores, one for evening. One of his chores is "homework" but since on non school days he has no homework, we added in science or art for those days. He has some science kits (Snap Circuits, Science Wizard and others). He also has a table of old, broken appliances that he can disassemble. He is only required to do 20 minutes of homework time but he usually ends up spending an hour or more.
Another great activity is Cub Scouts. Whenever he complains he is bored I suggest he look in his Cub Scout book and find a belt loop or pin that he wants to work toward earning.
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R.M. answers from Topeka on June 15, 2010
I would say that you can simply pull the plug on that video game and the tv!!! Get him outside...take him for nature walks...go visit the local library,spend a day at the zoo. You can't just expect him to entertain himself...especially all summer long. Does he have neighborhood friends? Get some of them together and have a picnic lunch for them...arrange a scavenger hunt for them to go on. Get some craft books at the library and find some fun things that he can do, maybe he can start now making gifts for grandparents and aunts and uncles for Christmas. Put your thinking cap on...what interests him?
Don't let the video games and tv raise your boy for you!!!
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M.P. answers from Pittsburgh on June 15, 2010
I have an 8 year old and he hasn't played with toys for a very long time. Many kids have outgrown traditional toys at this age. One thing that works for my son is Legos. He started out when he was young doing the kits but now does almost all freeform building. Unfortunately though he watches a lot of TV as well. Probably even more than two hours now that it is summer. I have signed himup for some camps for the summer to get him out and doing things-maybe you can try that.
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M.R. answers from Chicago on June 15, 2010
You are the grown up in this house and you pay the electric bill - so pull the plug when his time is up!
If the option of television/gaming is taken away from him, he will have to find other things to do with his time. Sure, one day of this may bore him to tears but eventually he will learn to live without all of the screen time and will come up with ways to entertain himself. Even complaining about "being bored" and "having nothing to do" gets old after a while!
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L.S. answers from Los Angeles on June 15, 2010
I read somewhere that kids should have no more than 2 hours of screen time per day, computer games & TV combined...
D.P. answers from Pittsburgh on June 15, 2010
I have a 7 yo boy. I'm AMAZED that your 7 yo boy will read for an hour an a half per day! That's awesome. Can you p.m. me what, exactly, he likes to read so much--I'd love to get my son to spend more time reading independently and would love your suggestions!
Also, as far as the tv/video game time goes, I tend to look at it more as time overall per week. There are days (weeks even) where my son doesn't even turn on the Wii. Then there are days he plays 2-3 hrs per day. He tends to play more active games like Super Sluggers, Wii Sports, Wii Fit, etc so he's not totally "vegging" when he plays......
As for tv my son might watch 1/2 hr in the morning and maybe an hour before bedtime. Unless he watches a DVD movie that day (maybe 1or 2x per week).
My son is also not really interested in his "toys" He's all about sports right now, so only sports gear is usually used at our house.
A.L. answers from Oklahoma City on June 16, 2010
The reading time is good. You have a total of 4 hours of video game and TV time. That seems like a lot for a 7 year old. If he is not playing with his toys because he has no interest in them, they are not challenging him or he is bored with them. Perhaps he has outgrown those particular toys and needs something more appropriate for his level of development. I would put the toys away, get some new ones and then alternate them every month or two. Since he reads a lot, you might try providing him with plain drawing paper and crayons or pencils and try to get him to create his own illustrations for what he is reading.