They are all around us. No matter where we go, they seem to seek us out and call to us. There at your friend’s house, the local nursing home has a few of them and yes, I have even seen one at the doctor’s office! I can only imagine that in short order they will find away to attach onto your smart phones.
So, how do you avoid falling under their spell? I mean come on they sure are better than the old version of Pong most of us grew up on, right? That’s right, I’m talking about video games! They are everywhere nowadays. It is getting harder to avoid seeing them, let alone trying to get your kids to stay off them long enough to eat dinner!
For many parents these devices of simulation are the antichrist, to others these same machines are the pacifier. How do you manage to get this machinery to fall somewhere in the middle of that enormous gap? I mean it can be hard to tell little Johnny or heck even little Susie to stop playing, when deep inside you are dying to try it yourself!
I mean come on some of these games today are just flat out fun. Do you remember lawn jarts? In most, if not all states those lethal implements of fun are banned….well now I play with my six-year-old son on the Wii! No fear of any one catching a heavy metal spike in any part of the body, yet still all the satisfaction of landing one inside that blasted little circle.
Finally, after nearly twenty years, I can beat my father in law in horseshoes…thanks again to our friends at Nintendo. So how can I as a parent tell my kids no, you cannot play games today? Heck I have had mornings where that blasted console is sizzling hot before my kids are even awake.
I have tried to set a system of playtime rules and regulations at my house, perhaps it may in some configuration or another work in your household.
Rule number one: All games in the house must meet parental guidelines (no war games for my two young children, fine for me of course)
Rule number two: All homework must be completed BEFORE the Wii gets its daily percentage of my electric bill.
Rule number three: If there is more than one child plopped in front of the console, then any games played MUST be a mutual choice. Do not ask me which game you two should play; you know my answer will be “grab a book”.
I have also instituted a rule that is secret to only my wife and I, and that is the dreaded time limit. We never mention this to the little ones, because they tend to do crazy things like set your clocks back twenty minutes. Every household has a time that works better for them. We allow the kids to play while we prepare dinner, pay bills etc.
The beauty of being the parental unit is that the rules can change, without notice or justification. Some days, the rule of NO GAMES falls into play. You do not need to have a reason for this one; it is one of the rewards of being the parent. Fear not, just as your kids think you are the worst parent in the world, you can pull out the rule of mysterious time extension. Ahh yes, this one can be implemented for things like, good behavior or good grades in school. Our favorite mysterious time extension is weekend mornings, our kids are awake at ungodly hours, heck they usually wake the rooster up!
6 a.m. Little Johnny: “Dad, can we play wii.”
6 a.m dad: “mumble mumble, huh yeah sure, close the door.”
An added bonus to this little extension is a bit of extra bed time, and if your lucky enough to have company in the bed with you…good for you!
Let’s face it, they are everywhere nowadays, you can not run from them…well unless you want to run to Amish country, but really? Therefore, instead of trading your life of cars, electricity and well just about anything else, you probably should learn how best to fit Video games into the daily grind. You may find the kid in you along the way.