Is Your Child Singing the Video Game Blues?
Is your child singing the video game blues?
If you are like most parents you may have struggled with some video game overuse during this past Spring Break week and now your child may be singing the video game blues! Whether it was playing for hours on the long car trip to the beach or just quiet lazy mornings filled with gaming, it is easy to let screen rules slide during holidays.
Getting back to norm can be tricky. You may notice that after logging too much time in screen or video game world your child may be irritable, sluggish, anxious, not wanting to go outside and maybe even a bit depressed. The scientific reason for this is that gaming causes dopamine to be produced in his/her brain in unbalanced levels hence the lure of the game and the good feeling from playing. When the games are turned off, dopamine is reduced and depression and irritably can set in. Real life and school just aren't as exciting as the game and going outside to invent neighborhood games is not as appealing as the excitement offered in the virtual backyard.
What is a parent to do after a week of gaming overuse? Here are a few Moms Managing Media tried and true tips!
Put the game away for a bit.
Some parents find that after a period of overuse the only way to regain a balance is to put the games away for a few weeks so the child can regain interest in and reengage in other healthier activities.
Encourage outdoor play after school.
Even before homework is done, send your kids outside to play. After rough and tumble play he will be able to focus more on homework. Packing a snack and stopping by a favorite park after school can be a good solution to that potentially difficult transition at home when the game is calling him.
Pull out the board games, puzzles and other family oriented activities.
We keep the TV remote hidden (away from the TV) so it isn't the first thing that is picked up when the blues set in. On the same note, keeping easy to pick up activities like: Rubik's Cubes, Bananagrams, simple board games, Think Fun games even a crossword puzzle kept out on the kitchen table can help divert attention away from the video game temptation. Basketball hoops over the bedroom door and in the driveway are MMM favorites for curing the blues.
Put your own tech away when the kids are home from school.
Closing your own laptop and turning off your cell phone will go a long way in helping your child get over the screen/video game blues. Once you do this chances are that they will follow your lead and get interested in other things, plus studies show that when parents do this, communication skills are strengthened in the home and that is a goal worth fighting for!
Don't fret, curing the gaming blues is not only easy and logical, but believe it or not soon your child will find that real life fun is far more exciting than being caught in the digital world of screens and virtual games. For more tips and solutions for balancing technology in your home or if you think your child may be getting addicted to his game we are hele to help!