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PaulineSinclair

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What do I have to do to help my child not addicted to games, I see your forum in the newspaper. I registered as a member and this is my first post. My child is only 5 years old but very addicted to games on smartphones, they demand daily play or they will cry and disrupt. Now what do I do to help them no longer be addicted to gaming?

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Don't let them play.  You are the parent, you tell them what to do, not the other way around.  A 5-year old doesn't need a phone or tablet.  

It seems like you are being controlled by your child through their crying.  Send the child to its room until it is done.  Then, engage your child in a different way.  Play a game, read together, be active in their recovery.  You can't just take them away and fill it with nothing.  You have to actively fill the space as the parent.

You can limit play time to an hour.  You can then barter with that hour if you want to take the bartering parent position, even though that is a bad road to go down with young children.  Want to cry about only getting an hour?  Okay, you are down to thirty minutes.  Cry about that? No time at all.  

Be strict, be consistent, be steadfast.

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Hello PaulineSinclair,

I'm not an expert on the matter, but maybe some of my thoughts could give you some ideas.

I agree with SilentQ about doing other activities. It's hard to say not to play video games if there aren't any alternatives. Some other activities you could try: asking them for their help on some chores to make them feel useful, giving them projects like drawing their favorite activity/animal/place and then talking about it, encouraging them to do something creative, like building stuff or inventing stories. Make them feel proud about what they do/create.

Also you shouldn't feel the responsibility to keep them busy at all times. Kids get bored easily and when they get bored it's easy to fall back on video games. But they can also overcome this boredness easily. Sometimes they just need time to think of something else to do. 

Also, if you decide on rules like time limits, that could be a good thing. However, I think you should try to be as democratic and transparent with them. Explain to them, in simple words, why you think it is better for them to have different activities. Take the time to explain the consequences they should have, if they do not respect the rules you set, and enforce those rules firmly but lovingly. For example asking them to take a time off to reflect on why those rules are important.

Maybe you could think about removing smartphones and tablets around the house and talk to your friends and family about also doing it when they spend time with your child. Kids mimic what they see around them. Seeing adults spending lots of time on their devices has a huge impact on kids. 

I don't know if these suggestions are adapted to your child, but I hope some of these ideas could be useful to you. If you feel overwhelmed I'd encourage you to seek professionnal help.

Good luck!

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