If Little Man could do just one thing all day, it would be to play on the PlayStation. Occasionally he’ll change things up and play on the Nintendo Switch or watch people playing on the PlayStation on YouTube, yes really. It’s fair to say that at the tender age of just 6 years old, he is a gamer. Which presents me with the fun challenge of managing my son’s PlayStation time.
I can’t quite remember when Little Man first discovered the delights of the PlayStation. We have one in the house as it’s the Husband’s, though he very rarely even plays it these days. But one day my son must have asked what it was and then that was it, the love affair with games began.
As you’d expect, he’s quite good at it. It amazed me how well he could find his way round it and work out what he had to do before he could even read any of the instructions, and of course now that he can read, he’s even better at it. He likes the Lego games, and has just had Lego Dimensions for his birthday so he has plenty to keep him busy.
It has had its moments. He nags and nags to play on it each day and when told that his time is up, even with a five minute countdown warning, there have been plenty of meltdowns. So I have not really been a fan of that PlayStation, and I’m sure that too much screen time as intense as this cannot be good for him. Which is why I decided that something needed to be done to better manage his PlayStation time.
The Cube System
At the start of the school term I brought in a new system. Little Man has five cubes of PlayStation time to use Monday to Friday. Each cube represents half an hour of either games console time or watching games on YouTube. And that’s it, there will then be no more. I know, it sounds so simple, but I have been amazed by how effective it has been.
When I introduced this to him, he understood how it worked very quickly, and even seemed really happy about it. In actual fact, this has slightly reduced the time that he was having, but he hasn’t noticed. so that’s even better. Handing the control over to him completely has worked wonders. From his first week, he considered how best to divvy up the time available to suit him, and he does a good job spreading it over the week. He hasn’t gone crazy and had a couple of hours all in one go, though of course that was a possibility. He’s generally opted for half an hour each night, one night of an hour, and then one evening away from it.
The very best thing about this, aside from reducing time spent on it, is that there are no arguments and no nagging. It’s a miracle! When I let him know that time is up, he simply switches off and goes off to play something else. Not even a slight moan in sight. He understands that he can keep playing, but will then forfeit it on another night, so he simply walks away from it when his time is up. We have a wipe board chart with the five cubes ready each week and he crosses them off as he uses them.
I know that this sounds really easy, but it is working so well. If you’d seen some of the tantrums he’s had in the past when asked to come off the PlayStation you wouldn’t believe it was the same child now. I am happy with the time he has on it now, and it also leaves him lots of time every day after school to play with his sister or his toys. He also always elects to get his homework done when he comes home, before playing on the PlayStation to get it out of the way, as he knows he will still have plenty of time to use his cube.
I am so pleased with this. Screen time has reduced and my boy is much happier with this system, as he feels in control of it. It has worked!
Have you got a little gamer in your house?