Monday, February 22, 2010

The good, the bad, and the grumpy: Video Games...

Living frugal often means that we don't have and buy all the latest toys, but we do have a couple of game systems (64 and PS2)that help make our home a fun place!

That's important to me! I want my kids to grow up in a fun and happy environment, yet- as a Christian, I don't want them to be a slave to anything except the Lord! Games are for fun times, but not for consuming all of our time.

But as a mom- where do you draw the line? Especially with "games"?!?! I mean- hey- they are toys- and aren't toys supposed to be "good" for kids and help them develop motor skills and all that stuff?!

Well, I won't pretend to have all the answers, and in fact, I'd love to hear more from those of you who have had to figure out this whole gaming thing too!

But the one thing I've learned to watch with my kids is their mood! Yeah, I know, who would believe that a happy, healthy, motor-skill-developing GAME would cause any child to ever be grumpy! But---- it does!

Have any of you noticed this very strange occurrence at your house? Or is my house the only one where kids take a strange emotional spin when they play video games? :-)

I tried to work on this real hard to figure out exactly what the problem was so I could find a "happy remedy", lest I fall to temptation and take the whole machine and put it in the very back of my closet- yeah, the place known as the abyss of no return....

But remember my goals of happiness and fun (note to me, not you) -and to figure this out! Well, here's what my conclusion was:
1) length of time played! --- Let's face it, sitting still, all tensed up and pushing buttons as fast as little fingers can go for an extended period of time would stress any normal person out! -But especially a child, who should be moving and playing and exploring in the world around them.
2) the type of games played--- I know that sounds like a no-brainer but I'm not talking karate chopping pandas or anything like that.. There are about 2 or more games here that my kids LOVE to play and several of them can play at once. There's one game in particular that they all have to move through the game together, and if one player wanders off course, the rest are stuck until that player moves to where the rest of them are- and that one game (its days are limited!) seems to cause more fussing than anything else in the whole house, the back yard, the neighborhood, and the whole county! But- they love it! Yes, it is the perfect example of a love-hate thing!

Those two things are the biggest culprits.

The remedy--- if it is the kids 'off day' and they are allowed to have several hours of fun, games, race tracks, webkinz, army men, etc with little interference from me, then I will periodically say "give me ten" and they have to get up and give me ten jumping jacks. (You know I have five boys, right? May as well prepare them for their drill sergeants, huh?) They think its fun. ...But if a certain amount of time has passed and they've not moved away from the video games on their own, then I tell them that they have to shut it down a while. And at a set time every night, all electronic devices are shut down.

And what of that one game? The rule with that game is they can play around 25 minutes tops, and if they fuss during that time, then they all are grounded from all electronic games for 3 days!
How often do they play this game now? Oh, about once every 2 months ;-)

Anyone else gifted with these technological difficulties? If so- what works at your house?


Joy said...

We don't have any game systems that we play. We did all play super nintendo, until Em broke the hook up in the back of the tv.
I noticed my son getting angry a time or two because he couldn't figure it out just getting frustrated.All we had was mario brothers and they were only allowed to play for 30 minutes.

Now Webkinz is another story..mine LOVE to play webkinz, I like webkinz but now we argue sometimes on who is going to get to play first. We only have one computer so they all have to share..has been great learning tool though!
They have to "earn" webkinz time and they can lose it as well!

We would love a Wii but now that our tv is broke we won't have to worry about that! :)

Donna said...

We used to have that problem with Webkinz until last year- then suddenly computers seem to come from out of nowhere! :-)

I wanted to get a Wii for Christmas but we couldn't- but they look so fun to me!