How much electronics (videogames) do you allow? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 46 Old 06-14-2010, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Most all the conflicts in our home lately involve electronics: video games, ipod, portable play stations and so on. In a perfect world we would live in a community of like-minded people and I would home school and have little or none at all, but that is not the case. DS (12) is an only child. We live where we do because DH got a job here but we don’t have any relatives or even friends with children here. Ds goes to a mainstream school. We allow DH electronics. He has video games, an ipod and a portable play station. We try our best limit it to Weekends only with the exception of listening to music on the iPod, but it has been a growing conflict. DS says all his other friends do it every day. And once he starts it is always very hard to get him off.

So I am just wondering how much electronics do you allow in you home?
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#2 of 46 Old 06-14-2010, 10:39 AM
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We have a PS3, XBOX 360, Wii, two Nintendo DS systems, and everyone has their own computer. DS2 has an iPod but nobody else cares to have one. There is a lot of gaming going on around here....both kids play WoW, as well. Hardly anyone watches television.

I don't set limits on gaming. If something more interesting is happening, the games get put aside voluntarily. If nothing interesting is happening, then I don't see why they can't game....?
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#3 of 46 Old 06-14-2010, 12:26 PM
 
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Similar here. We have 3 Xbox 360's w/xbox live, 2 ds's, an old gamecube and PS2. We have several TV's w/cable/DVR's. 2 computers, I-pods and 1 kid has an ipod touch (has internet access).

We are pretty much allow unlimited access, but I do reserve the right to limit esp. with my 11 yo. He needs to clear game content with me on new games. I also ask both 11yo and 14yo to get off for bed and other things. I'm am completely hands off w/18 yo.

Although they all really have enjoyed gaming, they really do seek balance in their lives. 18 yo whose life used to be so gaming-centered has really moved on. He uses his xbox live now mostly to play and talk with his cousin who has been away at college. 14 yo is moving on too. Interesting to talk to him about gaming now vs a year or 2 ago. Sometimes they need the freedom to immerse themselves in something like this to really appreciate it's limitations. YMMV.
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#4 of 46 Old 06-14-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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We are unlimited.

I suspect that *your* perfect world and *your son's* perfect worlds are very different. At this point (my youngest is 12) I'm more concerned with helping them make good choices and find balance on their own rather than telling them what to do. They only have a few short years left at home.

My kids do have lots of other things going on (this week is an outdoor day camp for teens) but they spend some time on screens most every day.

And I don't think that an iPod really counts as a game -- it's more like a stereo.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#5 of 46 Old 06-14-2010, 02:59 PM
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I suspect that *your* perfect world and *your son's* perfect worlds are very different.
A very good thing to remember.

OP, I understand that we, as parents, want to impart our values onto our children. However, we must also understand that they are not replicas of ourselves. They are their own people with their own desires and needs. "Like-minded people" will differ for them, as well.
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#6 of 46 Old 06-14-2010, 03:25 PM
 
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I don't regulate, either (though, my kids are younger, I'm responding thinking about my 9 yo since I consider her a pre-teen). She doesn't happen to care about the wii or her DSi at this point, but she does enjoy using the computer to look things up, play games, watch music videos/shows, etc. She also has a cell phone she texts a little bit on, and talks to a couple close friends and her cousins. She has an ipod for music, and a MP3 player that displays short videos. She doesn't use the last two devices daily, but I wouldn't limit them if she did.

Anyhow, I guess my thing is that her electronic use doesn't tend to get in the way of other activities. She doesn't have homework to worry about (then I could maybe see encouraging finishing it before using the computer - but that's a bridge we'll cross when we get to it - I'm not a fan of homework, TBH), and she happily prefers to be outside riding her bikes or playing basketball with her little brothers. I'm just playing it by ear, for now. If I felt like essentially allowing unlimited use was detrimental at some point, I'd likely step in and place some gentle limits, I think. I don't know that I would go as far as some of DS's friends who only allow video games on the weekends, but I might bug DD more to get off the computer and do something else - if I were worried.

FWIW, my 7 yo (so I know, not a pre-teen or teen) goes through periods when he plays the wii a whole lot. Like not too long ago when he got Mario Galaxy 2 and it seemed like he played it for 4 days straight (except he didn't really, b/c he had school and ate and of course slept ) but he was determined to beat the game - and he did, on the 4th day. Anyhow, my point is that since then, he's used the wii very rarely - in fact, I don't think I've seen him on it for several days now. Even at a younger age, I don't put a limit on gaming for him, and he's shown me that he can regulate it himself. He's active, super thin (almost too much so), and like his sister would pick going to the park or riding his bike over sitting on the couch, any day.

ETA: this approach is just what works for us, right now.

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#7 of 46 Old 06-14-2010, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=Linda on the move;15517534]
I suspect that *your* perfect world and *your son's* perfect worlds are very different.QUOTE]

Yes, absolutely! I think that is the Waldorf left in me although it has been 5 years now since we left!
Ds is very physically active and has life outside of video games as PSP, but I do worry that all the radiation from these things could be damaging for his health.

I am just curious. Are any of you concerned about it? How much is unlimited? If your child wanted to do video games all day would you let them?
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#8 of 46 Old 06-14-2010, 10:03 PM
 
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We do limit the kids' screen time. We only have a Wii and some computer games like Sims. Most 0f the Wii games are Wii sports, Wii Fit and DDR. They have the Naruto stuff but not that many. My kids are 15, 12, and 9. Some of their peers have mountains of video games, others have none. It's not a problem for them socially.
They all have iPods and we just ask that they not listen to them at dinner, when we are engaged in conversation, etc.
We have tried letting them self regulate screen time and they get nothing done. I'll come home from work and the TV room is a mess, none of the chores are done and noone has been outside.
So, once chores are done and the kids have read at for LEAST 1/2 hour,(not a problem with 15yoDD) they are welcome to play Wii, Sims, watch TV.
DH and I make a point to go on family hikes, go swimming, play board games and do other activities with them so they don't always resort to technology for entertainment.
I think if you are uncomfortable with how much your kid spend in front of a screen, you have to make the effort to offer alternatives. It's just part of their culture. Not a bad thing. But like most stuff...moderation is key.
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#9 of 46 Old 06-15-2010, 01:07 AM
 
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I worry when my kids seem to be spending excess time with either TV or games because it seems like a way of zoning out. I don't feel like the answer is to directly limit the screen time, but to try to trouble shoot what is going on in the rest of their lives.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#10 of 46 Old 06-16-2010, 11:50 AM
 
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My DH is a gamer, so my kids have grown up around video games. We have many video game consoles, in a addition to computers and hand-held games.

I DO limit screen time because I've found that it makes our family life much happier. I know that in an ideal world, people will self-regulate. However, in my experience, self-regulation doesn't happen in a way that keeps everyone happy. ALL of us (DH and I included) get crabby if we spend too many hours in front of a screen. And once we get sucked in, it's hard to pull ourselves free.

This summer, that kids and I are home. We have screen-free mornings (including handheld games). At first it was tough for the kids, but they've adapted really well and come up with some really creative ways to enjoy their mornings. My kids are getting along MUCH better and there is less bickering between them when we don't have screens on 24/7.

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#11 of 46 Old 06-16-2010, 03:59 PM
 
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As long as chores and schoolwork are done, I leave it up to the teen, how much he wants to play/whatever.
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#12 of 46 Old 06-16-2010, 07:35 PM
 
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We have an only--an almost 10 DD (and we homeschool). She has played some games online. We don't have an iPod, Wii, XBox, etc. Our cell phone has the bare minimum package of minutes. My DH works for a high tech firm so it's a bit laughable, but we simplty can't handle all that stuff in our life. DD and I are high energy, spirited females and this stuff would be like crack to us. She is very active and always has the need to be "doing something". Mostly she plays outside a lot--climbing trees and so I encourage that, even when it is pouring raining and she's building dams out in the gutter. LOL She likes using the computer and has trouble setting limits for herself. So we do. So she's not allowed to have unlimited access to the computer. We feel there are more interesting, healthy activities that engage all the senses in 3D so we don't like our DD to be on the computer a lot. Recently we had to take her off the computer completely b/c we found out that she was communicating on msg boards (which we don't allow). It's been about a week and, after the first day, she hasn't complained about it at all. In fact, I can see her behavior has improved greatly! I think she gets strung-out when she has too much TV or computer time. I'm the same way.

Some families can handle all that high tech activity, but ours cannot. If it's working against your family (arguing, affecting closeness, he can't stop etc.) I would recommend reducing it. But every family has to make their own decision. It has been my experience that it's much easier to keep something from coming in than to get rid of it, so we don't even let it in. And keeping high tech stuff out of our home has made all the difference in the closeness of our family and our lifestyle.
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#13 of 46 Old 06-16-2010, 07:39 PM
 
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I don't get the "no iPod" thing. It's primarily a way to listen to music. We got our kids iPods at the point when we wanted to get them little stereos for their rooms. After shopping around, we decided that iPods and iHomes made more sense than stereos.

And even though we don't limit screen time, my kids aren't on screens 24/7. Far from it.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#14 of 46 Old 06-17-2010, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't get the "no iPod" thing. It's primarily a way to listen to music. We got our kids iPods at the point when we wanted to get them little stereos for their rooms. After shopping around, we decided that iPods and iHomes made more sense than stereos.

And even though we don't limit screen time, my kids aren't on screens 24/7. Far from it.
DS will also watch video clips on it. He is the type once he starts reading he really loves it but if he has the ipod with him he'll start watching video clips until it is too late to read anymore. That is why I really do have to limit his use.
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#15 of 46 Old 06-17-2010, 12:38 PM
 
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I don't get the "no iPod" thing.
If you're referring to my post then I'll explain our family's perspective. Some of our perspective comes from a lot of Waldorf-y experiences we had when DD was little--attending Waldorf homeschooling conferences, reading books, DD participating in Waldorf/nature "classes", etc. One of the first books in my parenting collection was Rahima Baldwin Dancy's "You are Your Child's First Teacher." I gleaned a lot of wisdom from her as well and a low-tech life fits perfectly for our family. We view our bedrooms as a quiet sanctuary so, for us, TVs, computers, stereos and other electronics/tech stuff aren't compatible in there. (I have used a portable CD player with bedtime music for when I would parent DD to sleep. Many times I would sing, though.)

We have a CD player in our family room that we all use, (as well as a DVD player, stero, etc) but use it at certain times. We don't like the TV/CD player on as background sound. We don't have an iPod in our family b/c we have no need for it. DD isn't interested in one either. She is our only child so that plays into our family dynamics as well. We're connected to each other a lot.

But this is just the way our family does life. For someone else, their situation might look totally different, but this works really well for us.
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#16 of 46 Old 06-17-2010, 01:24 PM
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My current (summer) rule is:

You have to earn your electronics by reading first. I know, I know, it's not perfect, but it eliminated a lot of conflicts, especially with my 8 yo. He reads for an hour, then he can play for an hour. (Or if he reads for a 1/2 hour, then he can play for a 1/2 hour.)

During the school year, all homework gets done first.

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#17 of 46 Old 06-17-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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We have a family TV, Wii and computer, the kids have their own nintendo DSs and 10 YO DS has an MP3 player. I don't have firm limits but I do have general guidelines, especially during the school year. The Nintendos are primarily for use in the car (long commute to school) and while waiting for sibling at activities. Schoolwork must be completed before any screen time. Everything gets turned off at meals and bedtime. Electronics can't interfere with getting to wherever we need to be. If the TV is starting to drive me nuts, its time to go do something else (OK, totally artitrary and "parent centered", but there are some shows I just hate the sound track to and I can only stand so much). No "solitary" electronics when there are friends over (so no TV during playdates, but the Wii is OK, for example.)

Beyond that, I don't limit the actual time they spend playing things. But by the time you add school, homework, activities and playtime with friends, we are down to a reasonable amount of electronic time anyway. During the summer I'm a bit more relaxed but they spend all day at daycamp, so there still isn't a large amount of time left.
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#18 of 46 Old 06-17-2010, 05:16 PM
 
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We haven't really established very good limits and we struggle with that. We do no computer turns on Sunday just for the quietness of our home. That limit we have really liked because it is simple.

Our issues are usually related to turns on our family computer, with four children wanting turns. (We have a second computer but it is dh's work computer and is shared more occasionally.) We've tried a couple of ways to organize turns but none has been that great. Also, we use our computer as our "stereo" and it's in a perfect location for listening to music. That, however conflicts with computer games. We generally keep turns for the younger three within a couple hours' length, usually only once a day after other activities and basic clean-up. It's hard to fit it together, though. Often there is only time for one or two to get a turn per day so who goes first, who's next, who missed out today...

Our oldest gets a lot of computer time, but I get frustrated because she is not doing much else these days as far as interacting. We had to put a late night shut off for 11:00 PM on her user account when it became excessive.

One person will play, others sometimes watch. So there is a crowd at the computer quite often, sometimes with the person using it protesting to be left alone. My ds has asperger's, he will invade space, interrupt, and not leave someone be when asked while they are playing on computer. He'll sneak around behind and slip into the room repeatedly. He's the one who is actually the most conscientious about doing chores etc. before requesting computer time.

I am interested in what would happen without limits over time, but the turn-taking seems to set the most limitations anyway and that would still be the big question. Schedule? Or just keep winging it each day keeping it balanced among them and ourselves, but needing to be the source of permission at all times? IDK... All of that said it is not too much of a conflict these days for us.

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#19 of 46 Old 06-17-2010, 06:46 PM
 
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Some of our perspective comes from a lot of Waldorf-y experiences we had when DD was little-...... We view our bedrooms as a quiet sanctuary so, for us, TVs, computers, stereos and other electronics/tech stuff aren't compatible in there.
We were also very waldorfy when the kids were little so I know all that stuff, but as my kids have gotten older, they make their own choice.

Right now, your DD is still young. When you use personal plural pronouns like we and us, you are talking about living choices that were made before she had her own opinion. Over the next few years, she'll grow and change and her idea of the perfect home life will most likely change in some ways. She'll most likely become more independent in her thinking as well as her ability to care for herself.

That is really the point where all this stuff becomes an issue -- when there is a conflict between what you as the parent really think is ideal and what your adolescent wants. What works when your child is 9 is most likely not going to work when they are 12 or 13, because that "we" goes away.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#20 of 46 Old 06-17-2010, 08:55 PM
 
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We were also very waldorfy when the kids were little so I know all that stuff, but as my kids have gotten older, they make their own choice.
I guess most of that Waldorf-y lifestyle stuck in our home and has become a part of who DD is as an individual.
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#21 of 46 Old 06-17-2010, 10:19 PM
 
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I guess most of that Waldorf-y lifestyle stuck in our home and has become a part of who DD is as an individual.
She's nine. She isn't done yet!

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#22 of 46 Old 06-23-2010, 12:08 AM
 
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I totally don't get putting limits on the amount of time one can listen to music. Music is a beautiful thing and loving it doesn't mean one is " disconnected" with others they live with. I can't imagine being told I can't listen to music.

We all have our own computers, we all game, we have xbox 360, wii, ps3, ps2, game cube, N64 ect. We only have 1 tv and it's never on for background noise as I find that annoying. Having said that, sure we have had times were we each got really into a game, and then get sick of playing and do something else like read. Both dd and I are big readers, we also go to the opera together and love our iPods.
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#23 of 46 Old 06-24-2010, 10:19 AM
 
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N64?! Wow, blast from the past!

We love our Ipods too. I just recently upgraded to a classic for more space. We all have them, even 7yo dd, although she doesn't use hers too much.
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#24 of 46 Old 06-25-2010, 12:36 PM
 
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Well I don't have teens yet, but right now my husband and I have agreed that we will not buy video game consoles, only music players. We will instead focus on outdoor sports. It is so easy here though to head to the beach, or play a soccer game or even tennis or basketball, so I take that into consideration that sports are something readily available to all here in San Diego. My philosophy so far is to spend money on sports equipment. We will see how long that lasts as my kids get older.
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#25 of 46 Old 06-25-2010, 02:43 PM
 
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Well I don't have teens yet, but right now my husband and I have agreed that we will not buy video game consoles, only music players.
We said that!

One year for Christmas, the only thing my kids asked for was a Wii. That's it. Neither of them wanted anything else.

We got them a Wii.

I truly believe that for nearly all families, at some point you have to decide if you are a "my house my rules" kind of parent or a "I trust you enough to let you be different from me" kind of parent. We choose the later.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#26 of 46 Old 06-25-2010, 02:56 PM
 
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yeah, I didn't think we'd ever own a gaming system - and we didn't until a year and a half ago when we got a wii for our whole family to enjoy.

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#27 of 46 Old 06-25-2010, 03:11 PM
 
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We have never bought one. I don't want one around. Now if it didn't cost me anything then it's fine I am sure it would be no more of a constant turn-negotiating sort of conflict area than computer games are now, in fact it would give more options. But also it's a money decision. To buy a console then you want games, then newer games, etc. and it seems like a bit of a money trap to me. We have struggled over whether to even keep internet on for financial reasons, we aren't fixing or replacing our dishwasher, etc. A lot of things are pretty bare bones for us right now. I'll buy musical instruments before I'll buy a game console. Then again I have never had more than the occasional mention of wanting one. And we have a daughter waiting for a digital piano that she greatly desires. So there is a hierarchy of needs and then a hierarchy of wants, and so long as nobody is acting like it is extremely important that occasional mention of how fun it would be won't inspire us to purchase.

Arduinna I agree the mp3 has replaced cds for our dd so that is her music access and I am mostly glad for it, though I do often ask her to not listen at time when I am actually wanting to converse because she can't hear as well. She doesn't want speakers.

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#28 of 46 Old 06-26-2010, 03:48 AM
 
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Now if it didn't cost me anything then it's fine
ours was a Christmas present to the kids. We were going to spend money on them any way, we just chose to spend it on what they wanted for themselves rather than what we thought they should want.

The Wii is very social. Their favorite games are played together and we sometimes play as a whole family for our board game night.

We don't buy new games very often.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#29 of 46 Old 06-26-2010, 04:06 AM
 
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I think I would then too but it just hasn't happened. I personally don't want one anyway. But if they did we'd weigh it out. Nobody thinks it's important, my oldest maybe but she has just gotten her third MP3 player (a replacement) and that was top priority for her. She's the only one that has talked about it and she has other priorities.

I will keep in mind some of what I have heard about your enjoyment of yours and if it does come up I'll be less likely to be grumpy about the idea. I love learning about making room for greater influence by my children on household/family decisions and more and more they are able and interested in participating. It's been a really enjoyable process so far. Thanks.

A big Christmas wish would be a perfectly good reason to make something like that a more important priority.

ME&treehugger.gifHE... loving our: wild.gifdd(18) ~~violin.gifds(13) read.gifdd(13)~~ peace.gifdd(10)
 
 

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#30 of 46 Old 06-26-2010, 09:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by A&A View Post
My current (summer) rule is:

You have to earn your electronics by reading first. I know, I know, it's not perfect, but it eliminated a lot of conflicts, especially with my 8 yo. He reads for an hour, then he can play for an hour. (Or if he reads for a 1/2 hour, then he can play for a 1/2 hour.)

During the school year, all homework gets done first.
A friend of mine had a similar rule for her son (who is now 18 and in college, so I don't know the current situation). He could earn it with homework during the school year. During vacations, he had to spend an hour reading, an hour outdoors (smog permitting) and an hour doing household chores, and then he could do whatever he wanted the rest of the day, including electronics.
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