My 8yo LOVES the wii. We got it for Christmas. We've never really imposed limits on screen time and have definitely gone through times when screen exposure was really, really high, but eventually they'd balance out with hardly any, and he was learning to manage his time on the screens quite well and doing a variety of things (very little TV, mostly old-school computer games, blogging, YouTube videos, etc). But then we got a wii for Christmas. (It was even my idea!) Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrgghhhhh.
After about a month of full-on playing I limited his time on it. At first it was only after dinner, then we changed it to just an hour but at any time during the day (with some exceptions allowed). I never ever took this approach to screens before the wii. The reason for the change was that he gets super frustrated at times with the game with stamping feet, kicking, growling, yelling, crying, he would often be grumpy for some time after playing it, he was quickly losing interest in anything else, and I also have a toddler and I am not keen on the screen being on heaps for him to watch (and the wii is in the main room where we hang out - that's not going to change). Also, to be honest, I'm cranky and sleep deprived and my tolerance for the wii and his frustration is low.
So we limited it and he responded really well to the limits! No complaints. Honestly, he seemed relieved. The only problem was the policing aspect of it and him waiting on the edge of his seat for it to be after dinner and asking all the time how long to dinner (which is why we changed it to any time during the day), and then when it was limited by time, him wanting to know if 'this' time counted etc. Plus, I detest being the police. I also don't feel that me policing it for him teaches him anything in the long run. And so gradually, over time, we stopped limiting it.
We are back to lots of crappiness and drama. It's driving me nuts. We could limit it again. On one hand, even though I don't think it's the best strategy in the long run, like I said he responded well before and seemed relieved - so maybe he just really needs me to be the police for him at this time. And really I'm not sure what else to do! As with the other screens we've had lots of conversations about purposeful playing, taking a break when needed, making sure you have time for other things that are important to you, etc. But it doesn't seem to make much difference. Maybe we just need more time, but I'm not sure I have the patience for it.
At the moment the frustration is coming from a particular part of a game that he is having trouble with. He is determined to beat it. I think his determination is great, and it's wonderful he's working hard on it! But the drama around it is not great. How to help him find a way to meet his goal but deal with his frustrations in a more acceptable way?
So, any suggestions? Please?