As a parent, you are charged with helping your child navigate their childhood in the healthiest way possible. The better you are at doing that, the more chance your child has to get through their childhood and make something of themselves that they want to be. However, sometimes it can be hard to stick to it. Gaming is one of the things parents seem to have a hard time knowing how to set limits on. These tips for how to set boundaries on gaming time will help you get it right.
- Know Why – First, you want to educate yourself about the studies and research about gaming time. Gaming time is associated with problems more than the actual game itself. Part of the reason is not that it’s a game, it’s that obsession with anything can cause issues – whether it’s reading novels all the time or gaming. Everyone needs balance.
- Show Your Child the Research – According to studies, there are many positive aspects to gaming, but they show that the positive correlation goes way down when kids play online games more than an average of an hour a day.
- Ask Them Their Opinion – Every child is different, but most people have adverse responses to authoritarian behavior. Yes, as a parent you are in the right to make the rules for your child, but if you want to make them stick, involve them.
- Make Gaming a Reward – Instead of allowing your child to randomly play games whenever they want to, start out with making gaming a reward. If you notice your child really loving it, set it up as something that they earn, instead of something they have a right to.
- Be the Example – Are you addicted to anything? Do you spend a lot of time doing something too? If you want your child to be more balanced in their choices of activity, then you should be the one to set the example. It’s okay to comment on how badly you want to do whatever it is, but announce the reason why you’re choosing not to as an example.
- Play with Them – One way to make gaming time more constructive for your child is to play games with them. It’s a nice break for everyone and will bring you closer to your child. Of course, you don’t want to make all their gaming time to include you, give them some space, but if you can have game night weekly with your kids, that’s a great thing to do.
- Go on Vacation with No Games – When you take the family on any type of vacation, whether it’s a weekend or a week, make it a “no game time” (other than family games only if there is inclement weather).
- Get Professional Help – If your child is addicted, they may lash out when you start setting boundaries. If this happens, find a counselor to help you. Don’t put it off and turn it into a power struggle with your child. If you get counseling to help your child cut down their gaming time, they’ll realize it’s serious.
- Use Apps – There are parental control apps you can purchase that will help you monitor and control gaming time. But you can also simply change the Wi-Fi password and make them earn it when they want to play.
- Encourage Different Types of Games and Play – Everyone needs an outlet. Playing games is fun. But they don’t always have to involve computers and technology. Go play miniature golf or set up a volleyball net to change it up.
- Let Your Child’s Personality Lead the Way – There are always exceptions to every single rule. You know your child best. If your child can handle gaming on a higher level – for example, if they want to game professionally, you may need to lighten up your boundaries if everything else, like grades, are fine.
Setting boundaries and limits on gaming time are good for your child. It can sometimes be difficult to do it, though. Occasionally, like if your child is sick, let the rules go out the window. However, let them know why you are making the rules based on solid research into the problems with gaming too much, and don’t let them get started going overboard in the first place. It’s harder to set boundaries after than before.