5 Strategies to Help Your Child Detach from Video Games
80% of American households having a gaming system. For some families, gaming is just a hobby or occasional form of entertainment, but for others, it becomes a routine habit that can be difficult to break. Video games are often sedentary and isolating, with long-time gamers often reporting weight gain and loss of relationships.
Here are some fun ideas to help get the gamer in your family more active:
Create a fitness-based challenge.
For a gamer, competition can be rewarding off-screen as well. Get your whole family pedometers (try not to use your cell phone as it can create another sedentary distraction) and start a step off, the person with the most steps at the end of a set period gets to pick the next activity or where you go to dinner that night. Or do something active as a family, go bowling, play tennis, start a basketball match…help your child find something fun that helps them move and be active while enjoying healthy competition.
Make gaming a reward, not a routine.
For kids that are very sedentary, this can be a great starting point, using their favorite game as a carrot. Start off with a baseline, if you have 10,000 steps a day on your pedometer you can earn 20 minutes of game time each week. Once your child is hitting this regularly have them level up, like moving the step count up to 12,000 or having them join a sports team. The goal is to make fitness part of their regular routine.
Find an activity that matches their interest.
If your child enjoys mythical games research local renaissance or medieval fairs. If they love building in Minecraft perhaps a day volunteering for Habitat for Humanity building an actual structure would ignite a spark in your child. The goal is to get creative and help them find the aspect of the video game that they enjoy with something more tangible that gets them off the couch.
Help your child set and reach a long-term goal.
For an inactive gamer running their first 5k in the next few months might be a good goal. Or hike to the top of a local mountain. In gaming, there is always a goal and a map or path to get there, so help your child figure that out as well. For example, in order to run a 5k by June we are going to start walking a mile every night for the first month and then running a mile next month and so on and so on until they complete their goal. Then set a higher goal.
Have your gamer start a bucket list.
What are things they want to do before they leave for college or before they turn 16 or whatever milestone they are close to? You might be surprised that your quiet kid wants to go skydiving or learn to waterski, sometimes kids have adventurous ideas! Then help them plan for how they are going to achieve what they want to do.
No one can deny the importance of intervening when a child is displaying pathological gaming habits. Sometimes parents are confused as to whether their child is truly suffering from an “addiction” to video games, but the importance lies in your own family dynamics. If video game playing causes stress in your family and is the source of frequent tension, an intervention is advisable before the problem gets worse. Summerland camps offer teens an opportunity to unplug and learn how to self-monitor their behaviors, habits and time management.
We also help parents by giving them the opportunity gain additional knowledge and skills in order to set up an ideal structure for their kids to use technology appropriately. We help parents move from policing their child’s gaming habits to supporting their child’s behavioral changes. Call Summerland Camps today and we can help you assess if our program is the right fit for your family.