According to a research conducted by Electronic Entertainment Design and Research, the average gamer spends approximately 12 hours per week playing video games (NPD, 2018). As parents it is only natural for jaws to drop at that statistic. Many households are plagued by the time draining, tantrum creating, all-consuming video games. The American Heart Association Recommends just 2 hours of screen time (including television)—1 hour for children ages 2-5 (aha.org). So how do we limit or reduce our children’s video game time without that tiring tantrum? The key may be titration. Titration is not taking the video games away, but slowly reducing the amount of time spent on the video games.
How do I begin to titrate my child’s video game time at home?
· First inform the child that you will be making a new household rule about video game time that will start the following weekend (pick Saturday or Sunday).
· Next, inform them that they can play video games for one hour, then they must do something off of the video games for an hour (not involving any screens). After that they can return to playing video games for another hour, then switch back to a non-video game activity.
· Remind them throughout the week prior to the implementation of the new rule. Remind them the day of the new rule that it has begun.
· On the third week titrate video games to an hour on and 1.5 hours off.
· The fourth week, an hour of video games and 2 hours off.
· The fifth week, an hour of video games and 2.5 hours off.
· Continue to do so, until your child is only spending 2 hours of video game time a day.
I don’t think my child will cooperate with the new rule…
Starting a new routine is always difficult in the beginning. Stay firm with the rule, reminding the child that they can CHOOSE to follow the rule and play video games for the hour or CHOOSE not to play video games at all. Studies have found that it can take up to 3 months for a new rule to become a habit. Stay strong!
How can I help ease this transition?
During non-video game times, engage in something fun with your child. You can work with your child to create a Fun Bag filled with activities that you two would enjoy doing together.