So, my soon to be 5 year old has decided he wants a "thing to play video games on". I have no idea where he's even been exposed to them, or what exactly he's referring to. But he mentioned this to his aunt (whose 3 kids are all video game addicts and they have struggles over this all the time at their house), and apparently my nephew jumped on the internet and ordered a gameboy type thing for my son. My first reaction, is WHAT???? Really, you don't come back and ask me if it's ok? But seriously, I don't want to have video game power struggles in my house. I've seen nothing but screaming and yelling over video games in their house, and my nephews walking around like zombies back when they were into the handhelds. Now they're just glued to their screens playing whatever violent shoot em ups on their laptops. I realize other people may have different experience with video games, but both dh and I have been addicted to them ourselves in the past, and we both hugely regret the time wasted. No not the occasional Minesweeper game while chatting with someone on the phone, but full on playing nothing else for days, instead of other more productive things. Anyhow, I definitely do not want to introduce this into our house right now, and especially something that's portable, that you can take to a restaurant, a birthday party, the park, etc. Yes, I can set limits, but I just don't feel like having this struggle, as we already struggle over the amount of candy with ds1. So, I have 4 ways of dealing with this gift, and I need help deciding which is best:
1 - not accept it. Just not accept the package and return it "return to sender". Pros: it's not even in our house Cons: my nephew will be disappointed (the one who picked it out), he could mention it to my son, and then my son would feel like I'm being mean or that I'm withholding something good from him. Really, my nephew etc live far away, and rarely talk on the phone to ds, but they still do sometimes.
2 - hide it once we get it and never open the box. Pro: still no exposure to the game Cons: same as above, except now my son will wonder what happened to the game if nephew mentions it. Also, he may eventually find it.
3 - allow ds to open it, and then hide it/disable it.
4 - allow ds to have it, but now show him how to play it, or charge it. Pro: he gets his gift and hopefully gets bored with it since he won't figure it out, Cons: maybe he would figure it out or a friend would show him. Pretty risky. Once he's hooked.
Ds loves games on Starfall / Reading Eggs, but at least the Starfall ones are like subtraction games or multiplication games, and they're self-limiting...plus he's hopefully learning something...although I haven't seen evidence of that yet. But even last night, he wouldn't leave the Starfall game to come to bed...and ds2 sat next to him mesmerized with what ds1 was doing.
I honestly can't figure out if my sis-in-law is being passive aggressive with this gift or what, but my nephew is just a very generous person, and I wouldn't put it past him to have paid for it out of his own money. My nephews and niece love my kids and are always trying to buy them stuff; I just wish their mom would have exercised a bit more control here. Also, we are homeschooling, so there's nothing to prevent ds from playing vid games all day long...except of course my rules....and honestly I just don't feel like we need one more thing to argue about.