Get that video game console out of your kid’s bedroom

video game console out of bedroom

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You want your kids to play electronics less often? Don’t put video game consoles in their bedrooms. And while you’re at it, remove the TV from their bedrooms too.

They won’t like it but everyone will be better for it.

As kids get older, they are becoming more independent.

They are spending more time online and rarely play with toys.

This is more the reason for you to keep the video game console in the living room or other common area.

Kids need parents less

When kids become tweens and teens, parents don’t hear about their days like we used to. We don’t know everything that went on with their friends. Most likely, we don’t even know all their friends.

When our kids were younger, the days went by slowly. But now? Their childhood is slipping away.

They are more independent and busy with school and extracurricular activities.

Don’t isolate them further by encouraging them to be in their bedrooms any more than necessary.

Video game console out of the bedroom

Parents complain about their kids spending hours a day on electronics.

However, many of these same parents have equipped their children’s bedrooms with gaming consoles, TVs, and computer screens.

Advantages to having video games in child’s bedroom

Children will tell you there are lots of great reasons to put a gaming console in their bedrooms.

Kids can:

  • Play video games more often
  • Be out of sight
  • Stay on games longer
  • Not have to share or take turns with siblings
  • Do things parents won’t know about
  • Get up in the middle of the night to play online
  • Hang out with their friends without you seeing what’s going on

Is this what parents are hoping to accomplish?

All of these so-called advantages are really only (somewhat) advantageous for the kids.

For parents, the only real advantage is convenience.

  • Parents don’t have to see it or hear it.
  • Don’t have to worry about younger siblings.
  • Parents can hang out in the common area and watch their own TV shows, etc.
  • You can get your living room “back.”

Sure, sometimes Grandma or parents are looking for a big gift for birthday or holiday gift for your kids.

A TV in the bedroom seems like a wonderful birthday or Christmas gift because “that’s all he wants” and what else are you supposed to get a tween or teen boy?

Setting up a screen or a gaming area in their bedrooms is not the answer!

Kids spending too much time online

Even in families who have the Xbox, PlayStation or Nintendo Switch out in the common area — living room or basement — nationwide, kids play too much.

video game console out of bedroom

When it’s in their Very Own Rooms, it’s too easy for them to be on even more frequently.

So what’s the solution?

Don’t buy a TV and video game console for your child’s bedroom.

If he/she already has one in the bedroom, remove it.

Explain it’s not a punishment.

Advantages to having video games in common area

Everyone learns valuable lessons from keeping video game consoles in the common area.

The kids learn:

  • To get along
  • About sharing
  • How to take turns
  • Negotiating

Parents learn:

  • What’s going on with your kids
    • What they are saying
    • Who they are playing with
    • What are they watching and playing
  • How much time children are online

Overall, your kids will be online less when the video games are in the common area.

Because of this, they will have more time to pursue extra curricular activities, school work, reading, exercise and play.

They can learn to be bored and how to figure out what to do.

You will have more family time.

Behavior, sleep, and many other things improve the less time kids spend in front of electronics.

Remember, your kids won’t be living in your house forever. Maximize the time with them while you can.

Sure, you will be inconvenienced having to see and hear the video games but that’s part of our job as parents. Like changing diapers, it won’t be forever!

Friends over playing video games

Sometimes having a play date is a pain. Especially when the kids play video games in the living room, and you live in a small space — everyone is around.

It’s okay; it’s just temporary.

Everyone else has video games in their rooms, says your teen.

Yes, they are correct. Most likely, most of their friends can play video games in their bedrooms.

Take a look online, and you will see Pinterest boards dedicated to video game bedrooms. There are stores with pages of ideas for setting up a video game space in kids’ bedrooms.

Parents have different views on their kids and electronics.

Some think it’s okay to have gaming consoles in their kids’ rooms but are strict they won’t let their kids have a phone.

You may hear other moms talking about video games in their kids bedrooms so it makes it seem normal and okay.

We have all become desensitized to it.

Younger siblings

Often, when there are younger siblings in the home, it’s tempting to allow the older siblings to have electronics in their bedrooms.

Kids grow up fast

The years are short.

Don’t isolate your tweens and teens further by having them retreat to their rooms because it’s convenient.

Think of them being in school all day, possibly playing sports and having other extracurricular activities, and doing homework. Much of the other time they spend online.

A goal for parents during our kids’ tween and teen years to keep engaging them. It’s okay for our kids to be bored. It’s okay for them to not have access to technology whenever they want to.

Having family rules — whatever makes sense for your family — is important for owning a game console.

Perhaps it’s one hour of electronics on school nights, and on weekends and school breaks, it’s 2-3 hours a day.

Easy access to technology at home

In our social circle, it’s common for families with more than one boy to give them each a gaming console in their own rooms.

No one has to wait their turn

Yet, having to take turns and figure out a schedule — to negotiate — is the better way to go. Each child will spend less time online if they have to take turns playing Fortnite or Rainbow 6 Siege with their friends.

Waking up early to play

When we stick to our “no electronics until 10am” rule on the weekends, my kids sleep in.

Often they tell me they woke up around 7am or so and went back to bed. On days we don’t limit access to electronics, they get up early to play on their iPads.

Playing in the middle of the night

Naturally, having gaming consoles and devices in the bedrooms entices kids. Whatever your rules, these kids now have unlimited access at night.

You think they are sleeping — and you are sleeping — and you have no idea that they are on at 3am. It’s just too easy for them to access.

Know what’s going on

Even when the child keeps his bedroom door open, and you have complete access, it’s still much more private than when it’s in the open area.

Set rules for electronics

Updated media tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics offer practical suggestions for our kids in the digital age.

They acknowledge kids will be online and that it’s okay for teenagers to have online relationships.

They do recommend creating tech-free zones as well as keeping kids’ bedrooms screen free.

Screen free bedroom

Keep kids’ electronics out of the bedroom.

If this isn’t possible, set a rule that all electronic devices remain in the kitchen at night (after 9pm or whenever).

You can take the TV remove, the video game controls, etc.

Be sure to mute the devices. You can also set controls to Silence Notifications for whichever hours you choose. Example, set it to silencing from 9pm – 7am, even on school breaks.

There are ways to get your kids off electronics, especially over summer breaks and days off from school. Among the best ways are keeping bedrooms electronic-free zones.

If you want your kids to remain kids longer — and if you want to limit their time on electronics — and if you want to know what’s going on — you need to get that video game console out of their bedrooms.






7 Best Ways to Keep Kids Off Electronics Over the Summer

ways to keep kids off electronics

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Here we go again. Summer break is coming. Moms are getting worried. Very, very worried.

We want our kids to have a healthy balance between electronics and other activities. We’d love to have some easy house rules that are easy to enforce and easy to follow.

Moms don’t want to nag. We don’t want to be the time keeper.

We really don’t want to deal with a big checklist of Things For Kids To Do Before They Can Do Electronics.

How can we limit electronics use during the summer?

Keep kids off electronics over the summer

Engrossed in video games

The real thing is that time goes really quickly when they are playing those video games. Us Moms are getting our stuff done without interruption. The kids are happy; they aren’t fighting, getting hurt, or upending all the toy boxes.

keeping kids off electronics

So what’s the right mix? How can we not nag about it everyday and also not have to repeat ourselves all the time?

I don’t want to set a mile-long list for my kids to achieve before they “earn” their electronics time.

I just want there to be a balance and good habits in place.

It’s sort of like with junk food and snacks. My kids know their limits and boundaries because of rules we have in place.

Sure, sometimes there are special occasions or circumstances, but usually, we go on without issue.

Best ways to keep kids off electronics

Consistency is key. The best things that have worked in our house with electronics are these:

1.) They can’t get on their devices until a certain time

In our house, this is after 10am. Enforcing this has made a big impact in our home.

This encourages our kids to sleep in or to at least try to go back to sleep “because there’s nothing to do anyway.”

This will also hopefully get them involved in some of the things I would usually do for them, including getting their breakfast. Now, without the lure of electronics, we are spending that time together.

Basically, when they wake up, they need to figure out what to do. They can’t default to using electronics. The hope is they become interested in other things, delaying it even more.

If nothing else, they have started their day being creative in some way.

Also, by making them wait until 10am before getting online, I will have accomplished some of my routine obligations so when my kids do sit down to play video games, I can use that time in a more purposeful way for myself.

(In the past, they would wake up really early and use their video game time. I’d still be sleeping. Because I needed to get things done, I would be apt to let them play longer into the day.)

Another bonus with this method is they have already done something productive in the day which will hopefully set them up for more activity throughout the day. “A body in motion….”

2.) Play in the living room

One of the best things to do is to not have a TV or any video game console (xBox, PlayStation, WiiU, etc.) in the child’s bedroom.

When they have to play in the living room or other common area, you will be much more aware of what’s happening and how long they have been online.

Here’s why you need to keep kids’ bedrooms screen free.

Of course, no one wants to deal with seeing and hearing these video games. But we must — soon enough they will be off and on their own. As parents, it’s still our responsibility now.

Have your child wear gaming headphones so you won’t have to hear the games all the time. It’s essential kids play electronics in the open areas of your home.

3.) Set a certain hours

Another easy-to-enforce way to monitor electronics use is to give certain hours they can play. As an example, this can be from 1pm – 4pm.

What’s great about this is they can use their electronics freely during this time without nagging from you.

Whichever hours and time range you choose, you will want to decide in advance if they can “finish their round” or it ends exactly when time is up.

We set the kitchen timer for 3:45pm so they have a 15 minute warning. My kids also bring their mini alarm clocks in the living room so they can better keep track of their time.

4.) Set up a time limit from within the device

On most devices, you can limit the number of minutes or hours in a day kids can use it.

This is great because you can give them two hours — or however long — and once they use it, that’s it.

As a busy mom, you don’t have to monitor it with your own stopwatch or kitchen timer. It’s for the kids to manage on their own. And once their time is up, it’s up.

They can decide how they want to use their electronics time. They can divide it up over the day or use it all in one sitting, or however they choose to.

We instituted this on their iPads, and it’s made all the difference in our household.

Be sure you set this up from within the devices themselves. You don’t want to add to things you need to do as a mom by managing the time yourself.

It’s really easy to set up which enables you to change the amount of time whenever you want. Depending on your family schedule, you may give them a set amount of electronics time during the weekday and more or less on weekends.

By far, we’ve found this to be the best way to keep kids from being on electronics all day in the summer.

5.) Get them to play

The older kids get, the less they play with toys. But there are some activities even preteens and teens will enjoy. You just need to give them a little nudge.

During the school year, there’s not as much time for kids to do crafts, building, puzzles and play in general. But in the summer, they have lots more time, especially for activities that take longer.

Here are some ideas to get kids to play instead of doing electronics. (My tween sons enjoy doing all of these things.) Depending on your child’s age, all of these can be done indoors with little-to-no supervision.

  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Yo-Yo
  • Origami
  • Rubik’s Cube
  • Larger Lego set
  • Little Bits
  • Snap Circuits
  • Learn to spin a basketball on your finger
  • Paracord bracelet making

This summer, we are incorporating some other creative ideas. In the beginning, I’m sure they will object, but believe once they get into it, they will love each of these.

We are going to have them each make their own LEGO creation. It will have to have a name, a cover design, marketing strategy (what the target market is, age, pricing, etc.) and directions. Everyone in our family will take turns building it.

We are going to have them make up a board game, together or separately. They will also think of the age range, have to make the game board, write out directions, etc. We might even have them do a commercial for it.

After those are complete, we will have them research a place they’d like to visit and tell us about it.

6.) Make them get something done first

I’m not a big fan of Do This So You Can Earn This.

However, it works well in some families. But this is something you have to be able to be strict with, and I’m just not that organized.

If you come up with a manageable list, go for it.

You just don’t want it to become so difficult that it’s near-impossible to complete. You also don’t really want to tie these chores or goals to things you want them to do anyway.

However, if you have a child who doesn’t like to read, maybe you match minute-to-minute, reading-to-video-game-playing.

Something that works well is setting the expectation that your child has to Do This (whatever your list is) today in order to play video games tomorrow.

So, in the next example of doing a summer workbook, you can set the expectation that your child finishes his/her two workbook pages today to earn the gaming time the next day.

In this way, whether it’s doing reading or playing outside or vacuuming or whatever is on the list, your child won’t rush through the task that morning. He or she will have all day to complete the task to earn the video game privilege for the next day.

This will help teach prioritizing and setting goals.

Summer workbooks

Something that works well is to have them do a certain combination of reading and summer workbook pages, and then they earn an hour or two of video games.

We love the summer bridge workbooks. It’s a workbook which bridges the grade they just completed with the grade they will enter.

ways to keep kids off electronics

What’s great about these workbooks is there are 3-4 different activities each day.

There are different combinations each day, including geography, social studies, math, science, reading comprehension, and language arts.

Other workbooks tend to focus on just one subject.

Kids can usually complete each day in 10 – 20 minutes so it keeps children engaged in learning while reviewing concepts they covered.

(In some cases, these workbooks have introduced concepts for the first time.) We love these workbooks!

7.) Make them ask before getting online

Another option is to make them ask before getting online. This is a good way to keep them off electronics because they can’t just default to turning on the iPad.

This is more flexible because you can consider the weather — Can they play outside instead? You can consider other activities they might do — Have they played a game or done a craft lately? Have they finished their chores?

Maybe you all sit down to read for a half hour, and then he goes online.

It’s just more a moment-by-moment way to handle it. It offers more flexibility and is a great way to keep kids off electronics.

Keeping kids off video games during the summer

Left to their own devices, (pun intended) my kids would be on it all day, every day. And even when one son is playing Fortnite, my other son would happily watch him play it. Or he would be playing on the iPad, probably watching Youtube videos.

I want my kids to play. To be industrious. I want them to be bored and to figure it out. I want them to create and construct. To learn. I want them to be kids.”

But it’s difficult nowadays.

It’s so easy and so tempting to just let them have 10 more minutes or to finish their round. Without monitoring and constant nagging from Mom, that means another half hour or longer.

Playing Fortnite and other games with friends

Depending on your child’s age and grade, Fortnite might be daily conversation in your house.

My kids make their plans in school to play with their friends after school — almost like play dates — which is great. They are interacting with friends! What’s not to like?

This is all well and good during the school year when everyone is busy with homework and schedules.

During the summer, it’s a different story. They would be on it all day if they could.

Figuring out ways to minimize electronics time over the summer is essential.

Keep kids off electronics over the summer

Think back to your own childhood. There wasn’t constant stimulation all the time. Our parents were trying to keep us off electronics. People weren’t multi-tasking walking and using smart phones, that’s for sure.

Times were slower. We learned how to just Be. We learned how to be BORED.

Bored is good!

If I see my kids have played and invented and aren’t just resorting to the tried-and-true electronics, I’m much more apt to say, “Yes! You can go online.”

Other times, I will say, “No, go figure something out.”

We will be working hard this summer to break the routine of just vegging out playing electronics out of habit. However, my goal always is to be sure this isn’t more work for mom.

Basically, there are certain things I want my kids to do each day:

  • Pick up their rooms and shared bathroom (1x/week)
  • Get the mail (Alternate days)
  • Feed dog (Alternate days)
  • Play with something
  • Play outside
  • Read for 20+ minutes
  • Do two pages in their summer slide workbooks

Moms want to start the summer strong with whatever method(s) we choose for keeping kids off electronics over the summer. However, we don’t want to start strong and then get lack as the weeks go on.

It’s easy for parents to spend too much time online too. Read for tips to help stay off electronics.

What are your tips for keeping kids off electronics? Please leave them in the Comments.


Things to Do Before Going Online: for Adults!

things to do before going online

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You will see them in April or May. Well-intentioned moms begin sharing articles on Facebook about ways for kids to minimize electronics’ use in the summer.

It’s a real issue: Our kids’ long days of summer often include many hours online. We need a plan to keep them occupied in other, meaningful ways.

It’s a lot harder to get up and to actually do something, like getting a pencil and paper and clearing a space and sitting down to draw or write.

It’s much easier to zone out on the iPad.

These are informative and interesting articles, usually checklists. You’re sure to get a few ideas of out them.

The goal is to have your kids do a checklist of activities before they turn on their devices. So you give your kids a list. You call these the New House Rules. And you see how it goes, hoping they:

  • Will be so engrossed in playing/reading/creating/running around they will forget about electronics
  • Will run out of time to play electronics

In most households, these New Rules last a day or two because really, we’re still nagging and also because WE get our stuff done while our kids are on electronics.

Helps eliminate nagging

The idea though is you don’t want to be the nag.

The nag who always nags, morning, noon and night.

We are tired of nagging about all the time our kids are spending on the iPad, xBox, Playstation, Wii U, their phones, and everything else.

The idea here is to not have the kids lapse into the easy thing… the electronics.

If you can get them engaged in something more proactive, you can expect they will propel themselves into other activities as well.

But isn’t that true of adults too?

Adults love being online too

When our kids are happily occupied — online or otherwise — we can get our own stuff done.

Oftentimes, that includes going online ourselves.

While we most likely aren’t playing video games or watching mind-numbing videos made by 20-somethings making a killing on Youtube, we catch up on emails, Facebook, and other online pursuits.

Have you ever finished a task and then rewarded yourself with a trip to Facebookland?

Oh, the siren song of Facebook…. It’s normal: Finish this assignment or email or whatever, and then just pop on.

You’ll only be there for a minute, right? This is an easy escape for exhausted moms who just want some time to themselves.

Social media is an easy go-to even when there are tangible tasks in front of us. Why put away the laundry or start dinner when it’s so easy to peruse Facebook for an easy escape?

Maybe us adults need a list too.

It’s easy to get in the habit of Facebook, Pinterest, and other internet sites. But what about taking a break from Facebook and other sites?

The adults’ guide of things to do before going online

How often do we procrastinate projects or housework or bills or anything and everything because our “quick five minutes on Facebook” turns into 10 or 20 or more minutes?

Even at just five minutes a day — NOTHING! — that amounts to 30.4 hours in a year.

What could you do with an extra 30 hours? Of course, it’s well-worth 30 hours a year keeping up with friends and family via Facebook. It’s great! Not only is it a lifeline to your past, it’s a great way to keep up with what’s all around you.

It’s understandable that we’re not motivated by the ongoing, thankless tasks in front of us — cooking, cleaning, laundry, planning meals, paying bills.

So instead, even a few times a month, let’s spend the amount of time we spend on social media and electronics on some more exciting goals instead.

Wouldn’t it be awesome to feel good about something we accomplished?

things to do before going online
things to do before going online (Photo credit: Hernan Pinera)

The reason we as adults go onto Facebook is because we don’t feel like doing anything.

That’s the point!

But kids are spry! They have energy so they should use it on something productive or creative or active.

Us adults?

We probably already have been productive and creative and active. Facebook is our break.

Our R&R. But still….

Sometimes, and we all are guilty of it, Facebook and other internet sites becomes more than that. We spend hours on them. Sometimes we need ways to break the Facebook habit. Or the Pinterest habit. Or the Twitter habit. We know… it’s hard!

Things to do before going online

There are lots of ways to help adults find other things to do instead of default to electronics. Here’s a list to help get you started.

Remember, the idea is to keep the focus on you, not on the kids, not on the chores, and definitely not on the to-do list.

We zone out on social media on other sites to get away from all of that.

  • Doodle, draw, paint, do a dot-to-dot… even if you think you have zero talent. (It’s not about talent.)
  • Start a garden
  • Lift some weights. Don’t have any? Raise and lower some food cans for 30 repetitions.
  • Sit on the couch for 10 minutes and do absolutely nothing! It’s difficult, but you CAN do it.
  • Do you have a hobby? Take steps to get back into it.
  • Journal — with an actual pen and paper. What do you want your life to look like in a year?
  • Take a walk
  • Read that book
  • Write that book
  • Start a blog

These are all things that are for you, just in the same way that social media and perusing online is for you.

Try focusing on something positive… something that propels you and your life forward. You can be happier and more fulfilled instead of being brought down from something you see on Facebook or other social media sites.

Sure, we all love Facebook, but sometimes it better to do other things.

Our lives before electronics

If you are old enough, do you remember what your day-to-day life was like before electronics?

It’s difficult to remember. Did we accomplish more?

How did we spend our few minutes of leisure time each day? Instead of checking back on Facebook to follow up on a cliffhanger post, we actually accomplished things.

Electronics have their time and place

Of course it’s worthwhile to veg out online sometimes.

Maybe you need to check in for personal reasons or to RSVP for a party, or to wish someone a Happy Facebook Birthday.

But other times, it’s better for our psyche to be proactive in other pursuits. It helps to have a schedule or a plan (What will I do when I have some extra time?) to avoid what otherwise would be hours and hours online.

Kids love being online. Adults do too. By creating new habits, we are setting ourselves for more productivity… a body in motion and all of that….

It’s also a great way to role model what you want your kids to do.

So while your kids are doing their summer slide workbooks and walking the dog for 20 minutes, you can get started on some larger goals other than resorting to electronics.

You’re sure to find them almost as enticing as zoning out online… {almost}!

What is your go-to escape when you have a few minutes? Is it an Internet site or is it something else?

See also: Giving up Facebook for Lent and other times

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