Okay, so we've got ourselves a little bit of a problem, mamas, and I'm hoping I'm not the only one. Turns out we got our son a Christmas gift that he likes a little too much. It makes me so happy that he has so much fun playing his video games, but makes me absolutely crazy that every time it's time to turn off the game it becomes a BATTLE. Like full-on 'I don't love you/thrashing/crying/won't-take-no-for-an-answer' tantrum mode.
Create Limits Before Starting
Probably the most important thing that we should do (and I definitely should have done before letting "Santa" hand over this weapon of mass destruction) is set strict limits on when it's time to play and when it's time for it to be turned off. A rule in our house now is that we don't play at least an hour before bedtime-- if we don't, he will fight like crazy to keep it on, play one more game (a million times) and then bedtime becomes an absolute terror. Making sure that everyone knows when video games are allowed to be played makes for more structure and less tantrums.
Include Them when Deciding Consequences
Something that we find super helpful with our littles is including them in conversations about consequences. Letting them be in the know when it comes to what will happen when they choose to follow rules and when they choose not to follow rules makes it easier for our littles to understand and accept the consequences of our actions. This isn't a hard and fast rule, and is definitely easier said than done, but having a given consequence when they choose not to follow the limits set for any of the fun things in the house will make the consequence less of a "punishment" and a simple result of their behavior.
Offer Fun and Realistic Substitutes
Kids love to play, and when they have something as exciting as a new video game it's no wonder that they want to play with them as much as possible! But the truth is, there's about a million other things that can make our kids just as happy and can be just as fun. Making sure that your home is full of learning and fun and play is important for every little, but it is pretty much a necessity when you have kids who are full of energy and creativity. Whether it's getting them outside to run around, doing a craft or playing a game together, or getting them something that they can play with that will help them use their imagination and creativity will help putting the game down easier!
Model Appropriate Media/Electronics Usage
Our kids learn best when they have a good example to look to, and that means me and you, mama. We need to do our best to model appropriate usage of our own devices if we expect our kids to do the same. When I find myself getting frustrated that my little is playing video games too much I just have to look down in my hands and realize I've probably been on my phone a little too much too. When our kids see us glued to our devices too often they don't see any problem being glued to his game. So setting limits for ourselves will go a long way in teaching moderation to our kids.