Saturday, September 5, 2009


The challenge of the age;

to compete with the technology of the world. I am taking my job seriously, to compete with video games, television and one day... sometimes I fear one day.

My boys LOVE to play video games. TV is alright, but video games- certainly addictive. They can't wait to play...and then when they're playing they're so intense...and when they're done, "Can I just finish my level?"

So far the boys just play games on the PC. They typically get 20-30 minutes a day (according to age) and they're used to the timer now. It helps that I give them a 3 minute warning. "Finish your level..." Sometimes I want to buy a game 'system' so they can all just play at the same time and get it over with but I fear that would only lead to new games, new game options, and they probably won't WANT to play all at the same time and just get it over with.

As many of you know I pride myself of being a mama-of-moderation (but for breastfeeding, homeschooling and Jesus). My experience growing up was that where I was forced into extreme I deviated as soon and extremely as I could. I do not want our home to be video game free, tv free...I know my boys will find the next "funner house" to go to and be there. I have read recently also that video games can be a bonding time for older boys together. The jury (our opinion) is out on this as of yet though. At any rate I don't wish to be extreme about this...yet.

So the challenge, to compete for their attentions and interest. To grow minds that understand that stories and out-door play and games can be as interesting and fun as video games. Thinking very hard about this makes me understand just why so many moms have an video game I.V. hooked up to their kids (rambunctious boys especially).

Video games are (pretty) quiet.
The house stays clean(er) when kids are playing.
Video games only require some expensive parts/games.
They're mindless entertainment for kids and parents alike.
Video games can be cleaned up in 5 minutes flat.

Everything's more work. Hobbies, crafts, reading to your kids, nature hikes, setting up a tool or science set, play doh, play houses, art....all of it is messier, time consuming and harder.

So this is my call to all the parents out their who feel the pull to back off of brain-dead entertainment, starting with me. Encouragment for those who have the desire to see these little brains working in 3D, in interaction and 3D problem solving.

I am a mom. This is the job I signed up for. In the end, I want beautiful, well educated, experienced, well rounded children. I will not achieve this end result by accident, or default. I have to work for this one. So I am challenged again to push back on this draw to cyber-play all day.

So tell me, what do you do that works? How do you compete?


Karyn said...

I think you have the answer with "moderation". That and finding a balance of being the in the world and not of it.

Renae said...

My son can earn an hour a day by practicing his piano. It's been rough on occasion, but maturity has helped.

Now he pauses the game when the timer goes off. Sometimes he asks for another 30 minutes "to finish the level", which I often give him. He is engaged in so many other things (and we don't have a tv) that I don't worry about the time he plays.

I'm convinced nothing competes like an engaged family. Especially if the number of neighbor kids who come over are any indication. ;)