45 answers

Monitoring Video Games...

Hello video Moms... my husband has put a beast in my house... a PS3! My two boys, ages 10 and 8 are now couch potatoes.
We have a Guitar Hero and other various games. I have monitored very closely the games for their ages, so that is not an issue here.
I need some creative ways to monitor their game time. What time is fair? How do other Moms handle this? I would like to give them time to unwind and have a break in their daily routine. When they wake up.."can I play the play station?" and again many times when they are "bored"... My boys are active kids. They ride skateboards, swim and play board games. But, once they are on video games, it's a struggle to get them off. Is there a monitoring system any of you use? help! It's wasting the summer away!!

2 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all of your responses! I am feeling that many of you are battling the same situations in your own households.
Today, we are making some changes and my husband is conforming too... This morning, we got outside and walked the dog for at least 30 minutes. We talked about our activities and chores for the day. Kids know what to expect from me and what the "family" reward will be if we accomplish some tasks together. Kids liked the fact that I would reward them by playing with them more!

Thanks for the ideas of the child business books.. I am purchasing them! I had my 10 year-old read some of your responses and he liked the fact that other Moms make rules too! (go figure?) . Also, I liked the 1/2 hour game time in the morning then
another 1/2 hour before dinner. If all chores are done... Rewards after dinner on video or computer with Mom and Dad playing, will depend on how many minutes they have read each day. Books are still important for summer... Right now, if friends come over and their game time is over.. oh well.. it's off! Otherwise, extra time can be when books are read for matched amount of minutes. I am just thinking that their friends might be on the couch with them reading books for extra time... (the neighbor Moms will love me for this!)

Smiles to all of you!

Featured Answers

my girlfriend omly allows them on the weekends or when a really important task has been completed having to do with school. Her children are 6 and 4.

Good Luck. This has been the fight of my life to get my son off the d*#@ video games. He's now 19 and I tell myself I don't have to do this anymore. Try DDR, at least they move when they do that one. It's kind of fun for everyone.

By Chance at the age of 8 & 10, did they do there chores first ?? make there beds, empty the trash, clean up there rooms, help mom or dad out, let me ask do they have memory cards in there units, which means when the memory card is in they can go back where they left off, now I know its mean but I take the memory card out of my games PS3 game & the other units, ( Why ) because they have to start all over again at the begining and the games become boring and to hard to start over, so when they are playing to much , and won't get off the games just threaten to take the memory card away from them.. I promise you they will get off really fast.

Good Luck

More Answers

One rule that we stick to in our house is absolutely no video games (computer, xbox, handheld, etc) until after eating breakfast (includes putting dishes away!) & getting dressed. This could motivate your kids to pour a bowl a cereal for themselves if they are not doing that already;)

1 mom found this helpful

Not that my kids have gotten to the video game stage....but, maybe equal times outdoors to video games. So, if they play outside for one hour then they can play video games for one hour. I try to get my kids out early and let them watch TV during the hottest part of the day.

Just some thoughts...

Happy 4th of July!

1 mom found this helpful

M., I'm a mother of four 10,8,6 & 1. I started playing video games so that I could relate to my children because video games are such a large part of their culture. Everyone in my family plays and there are some great games out there for the whole family. It is addictive, I mean literally addictive. They've done studies and found that it releases the same chemicals in the brain as a chemical addiction. I'm telling you I have started playing some games and been moving up in levels and have had to discipline myself to not play until my chores are done! I never understood before I played why my son could not shut off the game when I told him to!! Sometimes you'll lose all of your hard fought progress if you just shut off a game other times you can only save at certain spots so you just have to play until you get there. I encourage you to try playing with your boys. They'll be surprised and thrilled....as I write this my son is begging me to play a game with him. I can't explain the attraction except it's kind of like settling down in front of your favorite show when the kids are asleep and having that glass of wine or cuddling up in a chair with a really good book and a cup of cocoa and no one will disturb you. It's a zone out. Now, how to set limits? We allow our kids to play games only on fridays and saturdays. Our girls don't play as much and have no problems shutting the games off but my son could play for hours thus we have instituted a four hour limit per play day. He can use those four hours all at once or in increments it's his choice. There are adult video game heads who can play games for days without end. The four hour limit with his own control of when forces him to be disciplined about when he'll play...this is good practice. We also tie his playing to homework, chores, behavior...it is an excellent bargaining tool. We've even rewarded him by giving him extra time. Video games can be very dangerous for the child with an addictive personality. I have heard of parents throwing away their machines and literally having their child go through withdrawl symptoms. Remember it is chemically addictive. I have grounded my son for 4 weeks before. It was difficult but I think he discovered he could handle it, and today he hasn't even played (voluntarily). As long as you have well rounded boys (and it sounds like you do) set the limits and then just keep them enforced. Once the boys know the limits they'll adjust accordingly. This system has worked well for us. Oh, we didn't change it for the summer either. Same rules apply. Try playing....

Hope this helps

1 mom found this helpful

It looks like you are creating a fun, responsible home. =)

Our kids qualify for their video games, most of which are learning CDs. If all chores and homework are done, if they start school on time, and their lives are balanced then I let them say "yes" or "no" by saying, "have you qualified yet?" They learn quick to get everything done. At 5 PM they stop and do one more "before dinner" chore and then we eat and go on to enjoy reading and family time together. Then bedtime.

I think we all know if the video games are an earned reward and not a babysitter then we are less likely to be raising idle, couch-glued potatoes. Which is vital because we are developing tomorrow's leaders. I actually like the chance to have them say "no" if they ask and haven't yet qualified. If they become unglued, it is an opportunity to help them learn a bit more about what personal responsibility means. It has led to some great discussions.

Anyway, here is something else I might as well add. Diane Linderman has written some fantastic kid Entrepreneurial books if you want to gear your children toward good old fashioned summer businesses. There are 4 in the series and they are worth their weight in gold. Here is the website. I have the 4 book set and it is rocket fuel for a child's mind and summer!


For two years we kept our kids busy running their own veggie and flower start business in the spring followed with a summer long ice cream cone stand. Living by a park, it was a great success. Video games were a non-issue through both seasons. It really helped them get the hang of it. Now they have gone on to create more kid businesses and really enjoy it.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't allow any more than 1 hour of "screen time"/day that means, tv, video games (including hand helds like game boys), or computer. I have a 9 y/o boy who would be glued if this weren't the case, so now he knows the rule, and often does 30 minutes a.m/p.m

I would handle it the same way as watching TV. Just set time limits. Buy a timer and set it for 30 minutes or whatever is the right amount of time to get a good game in. This can also be such a great tool for you! They can earn more time with good behaivors or get time taken away with bad. It's great to hear too that they have other interests, including active ones. Find out what a fair amount of time is to play video games in a day and then together you guys can pick when they want to play, maybe a half hour when they wake and then a half hour at 3pm. Once their time is used, it's used, they have to find something else to do.

I understand your delema. We bought a Wii for our kids, its all they want to do. I found a article in a Family Fun magazine that I use. It's a chore jar. I have written various chores on colored sticks(craft sticks), each chore is worth so many points or minutes. (doing the dishes-10) After they have earned at least 30 they can play, but they use there minutes while doing so. It sets a time limit plus teaches them to work for what they want. I have been doing this for about 3 months now, with very little problems and lots of help with household chores.
I hope if you try this it will work for you, so far my kids still think of it as a game, or reward for helping out.
J.- mom of 3-ages 11,9,2
Best of luck!!!

I totally agree with the last two comments... setting a timer is the only way! And don't let them say, "but this level isn't finished" or "I'm almost past this part" (classic husband and kid stalling tactics!). They just need to save it and start again the next time you allow it. I did like the spliting of times - 30 mins in the morning and 30 mins in the evening. Good suggestion!

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