If you’re like most conscientious parents, you really don’t want your kids on their Xboxes or other devices but are at your wit’s end over what to do about it. When you try to give them a time limit, it’s never enough. They always want more, you always give in, and so it goes.
The reason it’s so hard for them to turn it off is because it’s hard for them to turn it off! It’s addicting. I’m not saying your child is addicted, and hopefully he never will be, but your kids really need your help on this one. Look at how tough it is for you or someone you know to put down the smart phone or get off Facebook three hours after they promised themselves they’d just check the feed.
Here’s what you do. You let them know there will be no more computer games during the school week. Period. No negotiating. Tell them you’ve decided that’s what’s best for them. Give them a reason or two if you want—especially if your kids are older—but don’t expect them to agree with anything you’re saying. If they’re upset, empathize with them. Listen without defending your decision, and don’t change your mind. If they get all their homework done and are acting like angels, don’t reward them with computer time. Don’t do it.
You don’t get a redo with their childhood. What good can come from them playing Fortnite or any other game every day of the week? Nothing. What good can come by having the rule that it’s off during the week? Everything.
When we made the decision to cut the game cord it wasn’t easy at first, but then our son got used to it. After a week or two of our being consistent, he stopped asking. His mood improved. Friends came over and they played outside, and board games that had never been opened actually had their plastic taken off.
Have the courage to do this. It’s your job. Don’t rob them of the opportunity to go outside, crack a book, daydream, hang out and talk to you, and so much more.
Find other moms who may be doing the same thing or want to. There are moms in your neighborhood or at your children’s school who are struggling with the same issue. Dads, too.
Warning: Your kids are going to test you big time. Everything from “please, I’ve been good, I did all my homework” to “I hate you, you’re mean” or “so and so’s mother always lets him play” … and on and on and on.
Be strong. Know where you stand on this, or at least act like you do, for their sake. They’ll never remember how many people they shot in Fortnite or how many hits they got playing computer baseball, but they will remember the day you stepped up to the plate and did for them what they could not do for themselves: Press the off button.