Okay, this is an update following my earlier plea for help metering video game time. You should start by reading that blog entry and seeing what I wrote about and, more importantly, the great comments people left with their own ideas and practices.
I took the different suggestions and thought a lot about the dynamics of my own children and what they do and don’t need, and came up with the following…
For the summer months Linda and I have an arrangement where the two older children, A- and G-, are with me for three nights of the week, and the little one, K- (who is 4), has one special night with Momma before she joins the gang the next morning.
This means that it’s an ideal setup to have the older kids enjoy the Nintendo Wii without the little one around and then simply skip playing the system for the remainder of the weekend.
That’s what we tried this weekend. A- and G- each got 30 minutes to play the Wii, and each could pick a game that they preferred (G-, being a boy, chose an offroad car racing game, while A-, not being so into racing games, stuck with Wii Sports tennis). They had fun, pretty much didn’t play against each other but against the game system – which probably works out better since they’re still learning that competitive thing – and when their time was up it was easy to give them 2-3 minutes extra to finish up a game without it stretching out too long.
End result? We spent approximately 75 minutes total playing the Wii, both of them were happy, it ended without fighting and hassle, and when K- joined us, she didn’t miss it for a minute and no-one talked about it. Perfect!
For a lot of reasons I’m happy with this solution. The two biggest? The Wii has been quickly tamed and not kept in its role as prime entertainment for our time together and I also really feel that a 4yo doesn’t need any media time, whether it be a TV, video or video game. This last weekend was also much more pleasant than the previous now that the Wii has been put back into its rightful role as occasional entertainment.
Thank you, AP parenting readers, for adding your ideas and helping us quickly solve what a week ago had felt like a huge problem.
Now, to find a Wii Fit and, possibly, Wii Dance Dance Revolution. 🙂