How to Wean your Child from their Computer and Gaming Addiction
Take part in a computer or Video Game activity with your child.
Let your child show you one of their video games or computer programme and give it a try yourself. You may find the game instructive, challenging and educational. By doing this you are showing your child that you are willing to try something new. This is a skill that you are asking of your child by having them reduce the time spent on their computer and games consoles. There is an increased chance that your child will listen to your suggestions when you’ve shown a willingness to understand the attraction of the games.
For a week, keep a record of the time spent on computers and game consoles.
Ask your child to keep a record of how much time they have spent on their computer or games console. (Or keep a record yourself.) At the end of the week, show them how much of their time is been spent on the games consoles or computer. Is it 10% of their time, or 50%? Your child might not even realise how much time they are spending each week, and may be surprised. Once you have the data, any disagreements over the amount of time spent on gaming is gone, and you can see how bad the problem is
Start a long-term project that your child would like to do.
Your child may have an interest that seems out of reach on their own. If you can link into something your child is passionate about, you may be able to help them realise their love for that interest. Most children don’t think of long-term projects, but you can show them how to plan their time and money can bring big rewards. This may need some financial input from you but think of the long term goals
Acknowledge your child’s efforts in offline activities.
One of the attractive aspects of gaming and computers is that anyone can play and receive instant gratification. Other skills require time, effort and self-discipline before they become truly enjoyable. You can help your children find satisfaction in offline activities by praising their efforts and progress along the way.
Eat meals together.
Playing video games is usually done on your own. Eating dinner together as a family provides time to communicate with each other. This time should be a place for open discussion, where the children can discuss their accomplishments, and where they can also hear the interests of all family members. Dinnertime is also an opportunity for family members to discuss interests outside of gaming and computers and plan upcoming activities.
Arrange some indoor or outdoor activities
Help plan for the alternative activities for your children. To make it more appealing to your child, look for ways to include your children’s friends in the activities. Offline activities do not always need to be extravagant or expensive.
Show them how they could use the time on other activities.
You can put together a list of activities that can be achieved in the same amount of time that your child has spent on gaming or computers. eg: in a quarter of that time you could learn to play a the guitar. In half that time you could improve in a sport, learn a different language. The goal of this exercise is to show the child what activities he or she may be missing.
Encouraging your child to spend less time on games consoles and computers requires more interactive time from the parents. This is not always easy, given how busy parents are today.
But the rewards are worth it as we see our children Grow, Learn and Thrive.