Excessive video game playing has been a growing problem in many families. This issue has been compounded further as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many children to have to stay at home. Fortunately, not all hope is lost. Here are five ways that you can help to break your child’s addiction to video games.
Family Board Game Night
Sometimes the best thing to do to break a gaming habit is to simply go back to the basics. When thinking of ways to distract your child from their gaming, brainstorm ideas that used to keep kids occupied before video games were ever even invented. Family board games provide hours of entertainment and education. With so many choices, it is easy to collect a wide variety of games to appeal to your family’s preferences. As a bonus, planning regular game nights as a family is a great way to create memories and build lasting bonds.
Get Involved in a New Sport
When figuring out how to break a child’s video game addiction, you would be wise to encourage them to pursue a sport that they have always found interesting. Getting your child involved in a new sport will get them off of the screen and help them to learn a new activity. Not only will this support physical activity, but it will also teach valuable life skills such as teamwork, communication, and perseverance. Along the way, they will also make friends and develop social skills.
Sign Up for a Family Fun Run
If your child is not into competing in a new sport, you may consider signing your family up for a fun run. This is a fun way to train for a specific goal as a family. Do your research using a local race calendar and pick out an event a few months down the road. Then you can plan a training schedule for everyone in your family. There are a variety of fun runs that are designed for families. Be sure to choose a race that is challenging yet reachable. Once you conquer the 5K race, you may want to start training for longer distances. Not only will this get your child away from the gaming system, but it will provide them with a sense of accomplishment and inspire them to keep reaching toward even more goals. By showing them what they can accomplish when they break the video game habit, they will see the value of turning off the console.
There is no better way to encourage your child to unplug from the video game system than to completely remove them from the situation. Getting out in the great outdoors with a camping trip is an easy way to make that gaming system out of sight out of mind. Your child will be having so much fun that they will never even miss the gaming. Once they realize how much they are missing out on being glued to their console, they will likely want to pursue more activities. The best thing about a camping trip is that there is no potential for whining or other disagreements about screen time.
Sign Them Up for a New Class
If your child is not the outdoorsy or athletic type, there are still other ways that they can invest in a new activity or hobby. There are a variety of extracurricular classes that are available for children of all ages. If you do not have good fits for classes in your community, you can surely find a good option for an online class. Try finding a class that complements what your child enjoys about gaming. For example, if your child has been addicted to playing Minecraft, encourage your child to enroll in a STEM class that focuses on engineering and building. The goal is to match the child’s gaming interest with a tangible class that gets them off of the couch and doing something productive.
There is no doubt that it is a challenge to break your child’s addiction to gaming. However, with the right amount of creativity and fortitude, you can find ways to divert their attention and gradually wean them off of this destructive habit.