Almost every kid I know plays video games. Weather it’s on a tablet or a gaming device like the Nintendo Switch or Nintendo DS, kids love video games. However, kids aren’t always great about self regulating. I know my boys would play on their devices all day if we allowed it. And we’ve found that when our kids have too much screen time they turn into little monsters. So we set up parental controls on their devices but we also teach them to be responsible.
When our kids were little parental controls and basic verbal rules worked pretty well. But now that we have a tween that wants to do more than just watch Paw Patrol videos we have to step up our parenting game. So we wrote out a video game contract for our kids. The contract helps establish written rules about when they can play, how long they can play and what content our kids can access on their devices.
In addition to the Video Game Contract we also have some basic rules which all of our kids follow:
1. You must earn your video game time. Before you can play on a device you have to do all of your daily responsibilities. (Eat breakfast, get dress, do chores, school, etc… after all of your responsibilities are taken care of then you can play on a device.)
2. Time Limit. We typically allow our children to play a max of 1 hour and then they must find something else to do. Play outside. Read a book. Create something.
3. Weekends Only. During the school year we only allow video game console play on the weekends. They can play on their tablet (which mostly has books and educational apps) during the week but only after their responsibilities are taken care of. *They rarely opt to play on tablets during the week.
4. No Screens before school. This isn’t just a video game/device rule, this also applies to TV. It helps our mornings go so much smoother when everyone is screen free.
Our most recent addition of the contract has worked really well. I think it’s important for children to know exactly what is expected and what the consequences are beforehand.
Download the Video Game Contract PDF