Monday, April 18, 2011

Balance

So I went to the shed and unearthed the 'rock collection'

We have a rather major rule in this house. No computer games during the school week.

So weekends are a challenge... because computer games take over. I've even had to modify the rules to 'no more than an hour of computer games at a time on the weekends' or else my boys would sit there like zombies all day!!... to make up for the 'cruel deprivation' during the week. Honestly, I'm digging my heels in and sticking to this 'school week rule' until the end of their education. Computer games are like a drug for this generation.... oh and I can't believe I am even saying 'in my day', these days!

With homework, reading, soccer practice, piano and guitar practice (activities I am paying good money for).. they have a lot to do during the school week. Not to mention... chores! ... and just general 'having down time'... like god forbid.. running around on the grass and being boys (don't get me started on childhood obesity).

During the week they've even tried the old, "Mum, if we have done all our homework, reading, practice, chores, can we....? No, no, no, as they would rush through everything to get to the computer games at the end of it all. NO! Be creative, go run around, be bored for goodness sake.

So yesterday.... the peak of the weekend computer game frenzy..... we broke up the day (I resorted to the kitchen timer)....computer games, ripsticking down in the garage (with me looking on while sitting in a rather glamorous armchair destined for a styling job today... I received some rather strange looks from other residents!), computer games, soccer game on the grass, computer games, origami, computer games, piano practice, computer games, sudoku, computer games, studying rock collection and relearning all rock names!

In the end?....bedtime cuddles.... "thanks for a great weekend Mum".  Phew, that was hard work. Tell me I am not the only Mum in the world working on balance and fighting this computer game scourge that is taking over this generation? How do you do the 'balance' thing?

Photobucket

PS Hey photobucket, enough is enough....I want my signature back. Pretty please?

38 comments:

  1. It's tricky that's for sure...I know! I have an 8 yr old son (and a 12yr old girl) and it is a constant battle to strive for balance between activity and inactivity. I have no tips or advice other than to say keep up the good work A-M x

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  2. Since I don't have children, I only have auntie experience. I have three nephews who visit from time to time. I wanted to be quite restrictive when they visited, but the Man gave them full access to our computers. We took them out for eating and swimming pool, but otherwise they were given no limitations while visiting.

    The last time they visited, one of the boys didn't spend much time at all in front of the computer. He preferred to read. The auntie heart was full of pride. The youngest also spent alot of time photographing and playing the piano. So, I guess if the kids get a lot of alternatives, they will eventually choose the other stuff when they get bored of the gaming. :o)

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  3. Stick to your guns!!!!! I have been doing the same thing for quite a while now. No playstation or Xbox during the week. It really changes their personality if they play for too long. Weekends I do allow them to turn into zombies a little but it is the oldest who does this. Jacob still likes to get outside and play after about an hour on the xbox. Good luck it is such a challenge that's for sure. ;-)

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  4. I think what your doing is admirable. Computer games ARE drugs. I have a three year old and am dreading the day he becomes aware of them. I will keep them out of the house for as long as possible but I'm sure one day I will hear "but EVERYONE I know has one!" So I don't raise a child who is a social outcast they may one day be in our home too but I will follow your lead. I think the way your sticking to your guns is fantastic. I think "screen time" is wasted time and the less of it the better. Snaps to you A-M.

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  5. Our boys don't have a DS or any other game..., so it is easier. They do like to get on the computer and play Club Penguin. They could stay on that all day if left to their own devices. The way they can zone out completely disturbs me...it must be what I'm like when I'm reading blogs!!!xx

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  6. My eldest didn't get a computer game until he was 9 years old. He was the last of his group to finally have access to one. It didn't seem to bother him and I was grateful to delay it that long... as the youngsters I did see playing them seemed to not notice the world around them. Little one is different of course as he is 8 and has had access since big one got into them. It changes him.. he gets so frustrated and honestly does not seem to being enjoying playing them. I am constantly calling for time out as it becomes so unpleasant for all of us!!! A-M xx

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  7. Good on you A-M! Stick to your guns I say. When the boys look back and can think of lots of amazing memories (instead of just hr upon hr of video game blur) they will really appreciate it and it sounds like they do already! Keep up the great work A-M you are an inspiration,
    Jxx

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  8. I am completely in tune with you. The worse thing is when they have to get off the game, whether it be 30 mins or 4 hrs... they are still cranky and unappreciative because we are spoiling their fun. On Friday afternoon my 2 have 1.5 hrs and they have to do something that both of them can do on screen. I personally hate computer games and think it is so anti-social and addictive. Keep with the "only on the weekends thing" because then they should look forward to the downtime but as you say, you still have to set the kitchen timer (like I do). Usually I set it for 1 hr and when the bell goes off they have a short 15 mins afterwards. Just helps them to adjust to the time coming to the end. Well that's the theory anyway. Stick with it, you are their mum and it's your rules.

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  9. I'm still hanging on by my fingernails and so far have resisted the DS and computer thing. Our battle is the TV. Same rules apply here - no TV during the week. Weekends tend to be busy so it's not too much of an issue, but during school holidays we agree on the time she's allowed to watch and then she gets to choose the programmes and we have even gone so far as to write them all out and tick them off. Giving them some element of control feels like it should work?
    When there are friends over it's not an issue....so maybe I should just fill my house with eight year olds?!
    Keep going, they do appreciate it (as yours told you).
    x

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  10. I agree, I think computer games are like a drug. A friend of mine has a 12 year old son that was so addicted and affected by computer games that he was unable to concentrate at school; academically or socially. As a result his grades fell dramatically and he was having lots of social issues. A paediatrician suggested a complete stop to all computer games. The child is now back to normal - grades are back to near top of the class and he is now back to interacting normally with his peers. How tragic that this is happening! I believe as parents we need to be very strong about this and just say 'no'. Or don't buy them so they are not in the house. So well done A-M; you didn't just take the easy way and let them play all weekend. Thankfully my own 12 year old doesn't like them and would rather be outside on his ripstick/longboard. However my 15 year old and facebook is another story......

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  11. You're doing the RIGHT thing, A-M! I won't go into details, as it's all been said by the previous posters, but suffice to say that we have rules also : no computer games/Xbox during the week. Only permitted on the w/end for 1 hr per day IF all chores/homework done during the week & behaviour has been acceptable.

    We found that after too much time playing games, our son would not only become a zombie but would also become aggressive!! So we put a stop to that very quickly.

    I find all this policing exhausting! Too much to keep up with.
    I don't remember having these difficulties with my eldest 3 who are now in their 20s.

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  12. We have been using the timer thing for a while now but have recently adopted your no computer games of any sort from Monday to Thursday (incl) rule during school term. So far they have accepted it without too much fuss but I have to laugh on Fridays, as Mstr 6 no longer wants to play on the big playground after school but go straight home to, yep you guessed it, the DS or Wii.
    School holidays are proving to be a challenge, especially when the weather is blah, but we have restricted their usage to one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon, time to be decided by me.
    It doesn't help that Mr works in IT and as such we have every type of computer gadget capable of playing games in the house!

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  13. Hi A-Me
    This is a dilema for many parents and unfortunately there is no easy solution. As you know my kids are in their twenties so were spared much of the computer game wizardry now available but still very involved with IT stuff.
    In a nutshell I got heartily sick of the constant angst of trying to enforce certain rules, extremely hard to do with teenagers. I adopted a somewhat different approach and allowed them freedom to be zombies straight after school for a specified timeframe as their chill out time before homework commenced.
    Sure I was not always successful in getting them to finish the fun part and start homework but they usually complied because the 'beast' had been fed.
    Most important of all is to have unlimited access/open door policy to look over their shoulder to check their activities and ensure no unsafe shenanigans. This rule WAS enforced 100% in our home with no debates entered into.
    Best of luck
    xxx

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  14. Oh, you're not alone at all, A-M. Joshua is only allowed to play his Diego Dinosaur game on the weekends for an hour or so, maximum. Even then we have tears etc - and he's only 5! J x

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  15. I do it just like you - turn into the crabby old wicked witch and enforce a similar rule on the weekends ( they'll thank me in the end when they're not obese and have a brain in their heads that works on several levels). Soldier on...

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  16. Head over to '15 coast road' blog to hear about a new Hampton's style shop in Brisbane...you may already know about it but,as I'm on the mid-north coast of NSw you may as well go and visit for me!

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  17. You know you are doing the right thing and we all know the best directions are usually the hardest to take.. I am not at computer games yet but my TV addicts would watch Toy Story 3 times in a row if allowed so I have to enforce TV Rules ( not easy at 2&3 yrs old) and it means so much more work for me but we only raise them once and you'll be glad you did what you thought was best x

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  18. I have two boys aged 14 and 17 years and I went through EXACTLY what you have written!!! I stuck to one hour a day and ONLY during the weekends. It still works and in fact they don't even use it up now as they get so engaged with their tennis, guitar....:-)

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  19. During their school years my three sons, now 26, 24 and 19, were all given exactly the same 'screens' restrictions that you are currently giving your boys. It would have been so much easier to allow them to 'vege' in front of a screen as most of their peers did but we stuck to our guns and they have all thanked us for it! Our youngest recently gave away his games console as he realised that the time spent on it was taking him away from pursuits that really matter to him.

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  20. Woohoo Im not the only one who only allows Computer Games on weekends and school holidays!! lol I was beginning to feel like I am the only parent who does this!! My eldest often states that all his friends can play when they want, which is fine for them but not for me!! I too have the kitchen timer and get the boys to go outside and run around, shoot some hoops or play with their sister. Stay strong A-M your doing the best thing for boys!! Your a fantastic Mum!!!! xx

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  21. yay for you A-M!!! I'm sure it would be much easier to give in, but what a gift you are giving them by not doing so!! bravo!!
    xojoan

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  22. Ohhhhhh, so excitingly wonderful to hear of your computer boundaries!! Yes, stick to your guns! As a primary school teacher, parents like you always inspire me! You are giving your boys a gift...even though they may not know it just yet!

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  23. Good on you A-M!! As a teacher, I understand what you mean about computer games taking over - I always encouraged my students to 'get out and run around' after school :)

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  24. I truly think our children need us to be the adults and the parents and balance and limits enforced are all for good reasons. Bravo to you!!!
    pve

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  25. Aaah. A-M, thanks for the free therapy session with like minded mums. some similar issues in our house. it's great to read that "i'm not the only one"!!! love, hugs and best wishes to every mum faced with these modern day menaces. Jane x

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  26. The children I know who are your kids age are so slothlike and lazy and unhealthy and spend their entire weekends "relaxing" (their words- what 10 year old needs to "relax" in front of tv for 48 hours????) by watching Disney channel and computer games- it is so boring and most are obese or heading that way...I hope my kid doesn't end up like this. I know I sound like an old bag, but "back in my day" kids were active. And slimmer and fitter.

    My 2 cents worth x

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  27. I think you do need to set limits, but not be too restrictive, as anything really forbidden often becomes desirable. If there are other options that are interesting, they will not spend too much time on the internet or games or TV,and will self police themselves.
    Janey

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  28. Yes, I do think about being too restrictive at times and things becoming more desirable as a result. We have had a discussion about your comments over dinner tonight. I highlighted the reasons why there is concern about excessive computer time and the boys have volunteered to reduce their times to 1 hour morning, 1 hour afternoon on the weekends. Yay, self regulating. Thank you for your comments.... my boys have responded very positively to them! One good thing, there is really no TV in this house... except for "Letters and Numbers" on SBS... we LOVE that show... nerd central! A-M xx

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  29. My son's friends are using iPads and iphones(at 6 yrs of age) to play games and access internet sites as they are bored with the Wii and DS consoles they have had for years now!!! I have resisted the techno avalanche so far as I thought it more important to master reading and writing (and running!)at this age. The rest will come soon enough and then we will take it in small doses.

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  30. My 12 year old got his first playstation at 9 years old as well and we had a no playstation rule during the week. Now 3 years down the track the rule has gone by the wayside and he doesn't even think to get it out during the week...I guess the rule became habit. My 7 year old is fiercly competitive and when it does come out he competes with his brother and gets most frustrated when things don't go his way. Master 7 is now addicted to Mathletics on the computer. He spends hours competing against other Australian and NZ kids in maths. I don't like that he is spending so much time in front of a screen but at least it is educational!

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  31. Yes, we have a bit of a Mathletics addiction running here too. The best one to have I reckon, if they have to be sitting in front of a computer. A-M xx

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  32. we have a few rules here.. I think there is a big difference between those kids with solid rules for computer use and those who zombie on them as much as they like. No screen = no screen. If you dont wear sunscreen - you dont have any screen time (TV or computer). I HATE that sunscreen is such a big issue for little ones (under 5) but when they hit school they literally can not apply it. I battle this daily and insist my son puts it on... or no screen. I also only have one hour of screen time after school.. tv or computer.. you choose. 2 hours of computer max on weekends .. in one hour segments.

    You cant save it, earn more or get extra for being cute. 2 hours. max. I buy age appropriate games and vet everything he accesses online. He uses my reception computer so it is in an open space and I check the history. I also use the child profile on a mac.. it is awesome for limiting access (you can set available times etc).. no arguments.. the computer turns itself off.

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  33. I have just brought one of the tea boxes Julie (being Ruby) inspired me with her white washed one & shells,
    Oh & you have now with the cute little bottles inside I cannot wait to get organised with mine.

    Re computers so agree with you A M my kids would be there all day thank goodness after school are filled with tennis soccer dancing basketball guitar & violin (phew) I make sure we dont have time (can you here my little witches cackle hee).

    My daughter is a sims freak mind you looking at some of her house designs they are pretty good architect in the making would be good hee.

    My son loves anything so we try & go on the club penguine & lego so I feel like he is not just being brain dead have to watch that one though as he would sign up to battle heros given half the chance.

    Keep saying no they will thank us one day I'm sure, I hate wasting all that good energy on a flat screen.

    We dont own a WI I think the only kids in our school poor bunnys!! Have a great week.

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  34. My 5 year old knows how to play one game on my phone and one game on the Xbox. Enough that she knows what her friends are talking about. She plays them about once a month.. Rachaelxx

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  35. You are doing the perfect job!!...from another Mum who has "been there doing that" computer down time. LOL Getting their attention and habits focused somewhere else can be so difficult. But obviously pays off in the end with your lovely bedtime comment. Hugs

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  36. I was lucky my son managed to keep the balance so I never had to be too strict. He just never chose to sit there playing computer games for very long. But my sister frequently uses the kitchen timer for her 3 kids. I think you are doing the right thing A-M. My favourite word is Balance. I think it is the key to a happy life:)

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  37. Yep. I used to tell them that the could only play for an hour at a time or the would have sawdust in their heads.

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  38. Hi A-M. I am catching up on the blogs I missed whilst away on holidays. This one truly resonates with most mums I expect. I too ban the use of computer games during the school week and don't allow the kids to take them when we are dining out or visiting friends. They need to learn to be sociable. It's not easy. They are always trying to renegotiate the rules. But the hardest part of the whole computer game thing has been due to the fact that I don't allow my twelve year old son to play any violent games like Halo etc. He has never actually asked for these games and understands why we have made this decision. The hard part is, that as he got older and his friends got these games he was no longer invited for playovers because he wasn't able to play these games. It also has affected his friendship base at school as he has become a bit ostracised. We still believe we made the right decision and he is happy with not playing these games but it is just so damn frustrating that computer games have such control and influence over kids lives now.
    Vent over :)

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Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx