Setting Boundaries: Video Games as Rewards for Kids

When it comes to educating children, setting boundaries must be done with almost everything. They must learn that things can be done within certain limits and parents must implement such a concept. The same should be done with playing games online, because video games can be addictive, especially for young children who know little about boundaries and limits. While video games are fun and educative, the parent must set clear limitations and create a schedule for such an activity.

However, many parents use video games as a “bargain coin”, to convince their children to do certain tasks. While this is okay, to a certain degree, putting video games in this light fails to recognize the educational benefits some games online provide. Video games are part of a modern child’s life and it is not a good idea to completely forbidden them. Also, they can be potent tools for learning and for developing a variety of skills, such as problem-solving, team playing, communication, and socialization. If you want to do this the right way, as a parent, you will consider the following tips as useful in integrating games online safely into your child’s routine and schedule.

Don’t use video games as a tool for bargain

If you tell your child that he or she can play video games only after finishing homework, the young one will get the message that video games are merely tolerated, not accepted. Besides this, the child will be very tempted to finish homework as fast as possible, compromising quality, just to be allowed to play games online.

The reverse of this story is that homework, as other tasks that are bargained for some time spent playing video games, loses importance in the eyes of children. They end up not being important, as they are not treated as something that can bring them satisfaction or value, but more as something that must be done to receive the desired reward.

Children must understand that both homework, household chores and other tasks and activities, and video games, have their place and importance on the daily and weekly schedule. And this depends on your discussion with the child and on setting a clear schedule that should be respected day after day.

Create a daily schedule that allows children to play games online

The activity of playing games online should be included on the daily schedule just as homework and household chores are. This way, each of these activities will receive an adequate level of importance. Also, when children know that access to playing video games is granted with regularity, they won’t rush in doing their chores or beg for more time at the PC.

Of course, do make it clear to your children that not completing the rest of the task in the schedule, just as homework, cleaning their room, and so on, will trigger the revoking of access to video games. The young ones must know that each part of the schedule is important and should be treated adequately. If you make the activity of playing video games something special, hard to reach only if the child does something, in particular, you will trigger the desire of the child to pursue this goal more than others.

Allow free access on weekends and vacations

Again, this is about making this activity a normal activity, not a special activity. When the child has more spare time, you can allow free access to games online. Of course, this could mean that some days of the week may not include this activity, is time is not available. But that depends entirely on the child’s schedule throughout the day and what other activities must be included, like practicing sports or taking various classes. The main idea is that you are the adult in this equation, and you can balance things so that the child gets the benefits offered by a variety of activities. But, do talk about the schedule with your children and explain why you considered that it’s best to set it that way. Also, monitor your children to make sure the schedule is respected and make sure you let them know about the consequences of not respecting the agreed schedule. Just like in the world of video games, some rules must be respected in order to make things work and unlock the rewards.

Don’t take into account what’s not happening in your home

There are situations when kids have the opportunity to play games online in various backgrounds. For instance, they are played at school, either part of a learning process or during recess. These games can also be played by using a mobile device or at a friend’s house, during a visit. The recommendation is not to take these events into account, as they don’t happen with regularity. It’s best only to count the events you can control, which are the ones happening in your home. If you count the extra events, kids may be tempted to look for additional ways to play games online when they’re not at home, because they will feel you’re not treating the matter fairly.

Give them the chance to earn extra time, as a reward

We all know just how difficult it is to convince a child to do something we’ve chosen, as adults and parents. For example, spending time to tidy his or her room, do the dishes, reading a book, and so on. You can boost the young one’s motivation by giving him or her the chance to earn extra time for video games if he or she spends time doing the activity selected by the parent. This way, it is a win-win situation, so don’t hesitate to explain the benefits of both activities, giving the child the chance to understand their value.

Keep an eye on the games online played by the child

As a parent, you should control the video games selected by your child. If necessary, make the selection yourself, ensuring that they bring benefits to the child and are appropriate for his or her age. When the child wishes to play a game that is not age-appropriate, you will have to find a way to explain why it is not a good idea. Installing parental control on the device used by the child reduces the risk for the young one to end up in all the bad places over the Internet.

So, playing games online is not a bad thing and should not be treated this way. When selected carefully and used correctly, video games can bring along a wide range of benefits for the education and development of a child. You just need to make sure everything finds the right place in a child’s schedule so that it is not felt like an exception or merely a tolerated aspect.

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