J.T. asks from Trinidad, CO on January 18, 2010
Getting My 9 Year Interested in Something Other than Videogames
HI all of you wonderfull moms, thanks in advance for all of your help.
I am writing because once again I am at my wits end trying to find ways to keep my 9 year entrained and educated. On the weekends or school holidays such as today, all he wants to do his play video games something I am against. My husband grew up with them of course and I did not. So it makes it sort of mute point to just take them all out of the house. He still likes to play them when the kids are asleep. I have tried reading books, making pop out books, arts and crafts, snack time, going to the park. All of these things work to a point, when he is done, he thinks it is time for video games. Right now I am on bedrest for the remainder of my pregancy so all the extra stuff is limited to what he can do without me being right in the middle. I need help. any ideas would be great. THanks.
B.J. answers from Provo on January 19, 2010
I wonder if sometimes kids always want to play video games so much because they are sort of a forbidden fruit, a reward after chores, a limited commodity. Maybe if you had a conversation with him about why you are concerned, the two of you could come up with a solution that worked for both of you. And maybe (depending on the kid, for sure) if he doesn't feel like video games are completely taboo, he will choose other activities to do too, and video games will just continue to be a fun way for him to relax (and even bond with his dad!). Good luck.
B.C. answers from Denver on January 19, 2010
If you son loves video "games", then you can supplement all of the other activities you mentioned with "game" alternatives (to help him find other outlets).
There is a lot of GREAT educational software that is challenging and FUN. My son LOVED the Logical Journey of the Zoombinis at that age (have no idea if it's still available) so his videos games don't need to be just mindless trashy stuff.
Also, there are great board games that are challenging and fun for kids his age and adults... so you would enjoy them too. You can prop yourself up in bed and play together. (Although if you try something like Scrabble, you'll need a magnetic version in bed!)
Or a deck of cards provides endless opportunities. Try Canasta, for starters. Cribbage is excellent... my dad and I played that until he died. Get a Hoyle's book from the library for ideas.
I learned, when my son was tiny, that the best way to get him to stop undesirable behavior was to steer him towards desirable behavior instead. This technique works best when you steer in a similar path.
It works... and not just with kids. Notice the "Eat this... not this"? They don't say "Eat vegetables... not ice cream" now do they?
A.S. answers from Denver on January 18, 2010
Whatever happened to pushing your kid out the door and telling him to find his own friends in the neighborhood and GO PLAY! Send him to the library, through the neighborhood on a bike, down to the creek to find a crawdaddy, into the garage to make a rocketship out of spare wood, the world is his oyster!
If he can't find something productive to do on his own, then give him a list of chores. He's old enough to make dinner, albeit simple and not quite gourmet, clean bathrooms, organize linen closets, etc. I'm guessing shores will get old and going outside will look a lot more fun in a day or so.
Sorry to hear about the bedrest...maybe while he's at the library he can pick up some magazines for you. Good wishes for a safe pregnancy!
C.M. answers from Denver on January 18, 2010
My 9 year old is the same way. My husband plays video games as well and I do some times. I decided that if this is my sons hobby than I should let him be but there is a time to turn them off and find other things to interest him. We have found that lego's are fun for him and his little brother and board games and fun computer games or web-sites. funbrain is a good educational website. He also goes to lego.com and there are games that he can play.
I think that it all depends on the video games that you buy for your son and try to make them age appropriate.
K.C. answers from Provo on January 19, 2010
Well my darling, it looks like you have two options:
Option #1: Take it away. IF its a DS or a Wii, or whatever, just say, "it's a ___- free week!" He can come up with activities on his own w/out much help. Like read, "The Mysterious Benedict Society" with you on the bed.
You may also limit his time. I have the Time Traker that I set for my kids, and it goes from green, to yellow, to red, so they know to start wrapping things up.
Option #3: Play WITH him. I know, its the option that we rarely think of, but many games these days have the option for two players to synch into one game. You're on bedrest! You have some time to see what the big deal is. Borrow his games! I bet you could become a killer Mario Kart player while he's at school!
You would, in short, become the coolest mom EVER! And, you'd have something to talk about with your son - AND his friends!!! I highly recommend Animal Crossing. It's a game that gets kids into cataloging a TON of real insects/fish/dinosaur bones, cross-breeding flowers, and furniture collections. I KNOW IT SOUNDS DUMB!!! But my husband and I played it more the first year than the kids.
Are games generally a waste of time - YES! Can you manipulate it to your advantage - YES! "Sorry, no games until your room is clean/table is set/homework is done/floor is picked up - that's the rule!" And limiting time will help you feel like you are not raising a potential Pinball Wizard.
And, if you do get Animal Crossing, let me know, I'll let you come visit my town. I'll write you letters and send you coconuts to grow in your town!
Good luck - mama's are smart cookies, and we multi-task, even if it's finding common ground with our kids!
A.C. answers from Colorado Springs on January 19, 2010
I would make him a deal for the rest of your pregnancy (it's your option to continue it after you have baby): he can EARN 30 mins (or 15) of video game time by doing all his chores & picking one extra to help out around the house. Make a list of chores he can do (since my 6 year old has no aim, he cleans the toilet in his bathroom. Maybe not to my standard but I don't have to bend to do it :)
Hubby goes on gaming sprees-there are times that he'll not touch them for months or even a year, but then he'll go on a binge & do nothing but play for a couple of days. Our boys are limited to video games on weekends only (Fri/Sat & a day w/no school following) but even then we don't let them play often-they get nasty about it after a while.
Since you're on bedrest, I think letting him earn some video gaming time (you're not going to be able to go fly kites or ride bikes) after doing an extra chore is a fair trade-he gets to play, he learns that rewards come from work & you get an extra chore done.
Congrats on the baby!
S.B. answers from Denver on January 19, 2010
We limit all screen time - tv or computer or videogames. None in the morning before school, and only after 5 pm. On weekends, my now 10 yr old son has screen time from when he wakes (usually between 6:30 and 7) up to 10am and then not again until 5 pm.
Instead he reads, plays Legos - a great and creative activity - draws, rides his bike, plays games or cards, plays with toy cars or airplanes, Pokemon cards, etc.