One week in

9 02 2009

We’ve got some rules in our house that we actually enforce.  One of them is “No video games during the week.”  The boys have come to accept this rule, but it usually means that on Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday they want to do nothing but play video games.  We also have a “no video games before lunch” rule.  So the actual time spent may be relatively small in relation to the week, but the amount of space in their minds occupied by the games is very large.  Time was not kept by the position of the sun in the sky or by the phase of the moon.  Time was kept by marking how many days were left until the three day gaming binge.  Obsession is a dangerous thing, and these kids aren’t even ten yet.  So we decided to prove to them that there are other things to do than sit in front of the TV with a controller.

We designated February as “No Video Games Month.”  When met with the expected protests we explained that at least February is the shortest month of the year.  We could have picked March.  We could have picked JULY, when they’re home from school (we still may do that one).

next year he performs at the grammys

So here we are, one week into our screen-free month (no TV either) and what’s been happening?  I can tell you one thing that hasn’t been happening.  Much to our surprise we haven’t heard one complaint.  There the game systems sit, in full view of the children (and parents), and I haven’t heard one question about leniency on the rule.  Isaac has, however, delved into Zelda strategy guides as if he’s living vicariously through them.  I’ve hid those now, because I find it a bit creepy.  

Jonathan is summarily unfazed by the whole idea.  While he loves the idea of being free to play video games, in truth he could give or take them.  He often plays for a while then puts the controller down and does something else.  In this case he’s gotten hooked on one of their Christmas presents from my mother, the Smart Globe from the Discovery Store.  

actually looking for Carmen San Diego

He’s played with it so much that when they ask him to locate countries on the globe he can do it pretty quickly.  He was even helping Isaac do it (and mocking him at the same time).  So far I’d say that this experiment is a success, and it’s one we’ll have to repeat in the future.

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9 responses

9 02 2009
Heidi @ ggip

Great idea. I love the idea of that globe. I know it would be well used in our house.

9 02 2009
Lauren

Good for you! My parents limited our t.v. time when I was little, too. Granted, it was because one of my brothers was doing poorly in school and had to earn our t.v. time, and we hated him a little for that, but it was still a good experience.

10 02 2009
Lara

I wish I could get my husband to agree to something like that!

10 02 2009
Daddy Forever

Out kids like to watch TV and movies, but we usually don’t let them watch during the week. Even on weekends, they can only watch for an hour or two a day. They are use to it so they think that’s normal. Gives them more time to torment us.

11 02 2009
Lawrence

Boy am I glad I am not your son! LOL. When I was Isaacs age, stopping breathing for a week was easier than life without the computer! Now that I think about it, I guess nothing much has changed in that respect!

11 02 2009
mark - in my own defense

That’s true, although maybe you feel like you’re one of my kids because of how often I complain that you never call.

11 02 2009
Aunt Dianne

Good for you Mark, sometimes we as parents have to take the control back. I can remember when our TV broke and we went a month or so (can’t remember for sure how long it was.) without it and almost didn’t get another one. We played board games together and more family time and the boys started reading more.

13 02 2009
Miss Behaving

Good on you. we have had to do the same thing, the gameboys are limited to Saturdays only.
My younger son can take it or leave it a lot of the time like yours, but the older one, cannot. I sense he is relieved in some part by having it ( literally) taken out of his hands, because he cannot make that decision for himself.

We have had the same problem with the eldest and her cell phone.
we decided she had to hand it over at 9pm. ( Bearingin mind she doesn’t get in from school till 7). So far its amazing she has started watching a couple of tv shows with me again, READING BOOKS!! She even wrote someone a letter.
Oh the things you can do when you are not staring at a screen.
Now if I could only get MYSELF off the dang computer 😉

2 03 2009
Michele B

O.K. its bad enough I am always way behind on reading your posts but then I also have the nerve to say things like isn’t the expression “take or leave them” ? I’m just asking….smile.

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