Millions have been affected by the Coronavirus, and with people staying at home it can be a struggle for those of you battling against video games to find support about how to navigate this situation.
In this bonus episode of Gaming the System, Cam and Nadja got on a call to talk about how parents can manage their child's screentime during this outbreak and provide a number of practical steps for you to follow.
Kids are at home and uncertainty is in the air... how do you find balance with technology use without constantly fighting and being stressed?
1) Get in the right mindset!
Reframe this crisis as an opportunity for you and your family to develop a deeper connection.
It might be painful at first, but don’t lose hope. Be prepared for bickering and decide how you are going to show up. We like the mantra, KFC: Kind, Firm, Calm.
Some of you might need to relax your rules a little…Okay but don’t feel you have to or get pressured into having no rules.
2) When it comes to screen time... focus on quality over quantity.
Are you/they watching cat videos on YouTube or learning to code? Are they FaceTiming with a friend or scrolling through Instagram? Are they playing a game that makes them angry or laughing and having a good time with mates? Are they playing educational games? Doing courses?
How they spend time on screens matters a lot more than "how much" time they spend on screens. And yes, sometimes, that even includes needing to watch a few cat videos on YouTube.
3) Use this newfound time to build skills and learn!
We always say we don't have time to read that book, do that course, clean that room, try that new hobby, pick up the guitar again, call that friend, write that book.
Now you have it. Invest in yourself wisely. That doesn't have to be all day, but every day, do something to grow and push yourself forward. And encourage your family to do the same.
This is a great opportunity for you to ask your tech savvy kids to teach you about the features on your phones or computers that you don't know.
4) Get healthy!
Work out a bit each day. Do it as a family. Put a yoga video on YouTube. Maybe break out the Nintendo Wii from the attic. Find time every day to do bodyweight exercises, stretch, meditate, get in shape! It will make staying home easier.
5) Establish a routine.
Maybe when you work. They do homework. You focus as a family for two hours and then take a break. Rinse and repeat as needed. This process is one day at a time. Use structure wisely to provide certainty.
6) Have a family meeting!
Gather everyone's input on what this experience has been for them and what they hope it to be over the next days, weeks, months. Let everyone have a voice!
Just get it out on the table so you can begin to have discussions on finding a compromise that works for your family. This is a good time to discuss family values!
If it starts get loud and confrontational, have everyone write their points and questions on index cards and go through them one at a time. Communicate expectations early and clearly.
This is also a good time to discuss any emotions or fears that are coming up around the crisis. Remember that some people are more comfortable communicating in writing and not out loud.
7) Establish "if then" consequences in writing.
Don’t go overboard.. especially if they are not realistic for you to adhere to over the next few weeks. Consistency is probably more important than rigidity at this time.
If this happens, then this happens. Standards are set and consequences are not surprises.
8) YOU ARE THE ROLE MODEL
Are you using technology wisely? Are you scrolling Twitter for your 18th hour today stressed and anxious and passing that onto other family members? Are you focusing on your own self-care? Are you embracing new hobbies?
Your capacity to be the best version of yourself at this time will be seen by others. Let your focus inspire them.
9) NEED MORE HELP?
We have a FREE FB group for parents to navigate gaming or digital overuse issues. Join here.