“Make A Bank”

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2011 at 12:06 pm
No Video Games

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L:  “Mom, can I watch a show?”

Me:  “Not right now.”

L:  “Can I play video games?”

Me:  “Sorry, you’ve already played your limit for the day.”

L:  “Can I have a snack?”

Me:  “You just ate 15 minutes ago!”

L:  “I’m bored, I don’t know what to do.” (said with a whine of course!)

Does this conversation sound familiar to you?  I’ve had nightmares where I hear it over and over again…no wait, that was real!  My dear son is obsessed with video games, or anything electronic for that matter, and it drives me nuts.  I’ve said many times that if I had it my way, we wouldn’t have any in the house, but it’s one of those things in which  my husband and I had to compromise.  We of course set limits for their use, but it’s still often an issue for my son.  He’s never been a kid who like to play with toys, ever.  They just never interest him for more than a day or two.  We’ve tried, believe me, to find something else that would spark a lasting interest and have been unsuccessful every time.  He is just fascinated by video games.  Everything about them.  He wants to create them, and learn how to code which is great, but most of the time it’s about playing them.  I have however been able to get him to draw and write out his ideas for games which gives him good writing and imagination practice.

Recently I think we have come up with a pretty good solution for the constant asking for more than his allotted play time.  He has to earn it.  Not by doing chores, but with reading.  Reading is not his favorite thing, and he really needs more practice.  He would often give a hard time when it came time to read and I was getting worn thin.  My husband and I created a “Reading Bank” for him in a notebook.  Here’s how it works.  For every time he wants to play a video game, or watch a show, he has to read for 10 minutes first and write it into his reading bank.  It’s a win-win for us.  He will most likely never go a day without wanting to play at least one game, or watch one show, so we’re guaranteed that he will have read at least once a day without us forcing him.  We explained that if we ever catch him “cheating” and not paying from his reading bank, he will lose all game privileges for a whole day without exception.  Our daily video game time limit still applies, but if he happens to read more, he can put it in his bank for another day.  Now, how much or how little he plays is in his hands.  It’s his responsibility.

To my surprise, he is doing great with this system!  I have not had to nag him once.  He seems to like recording in his special bank notebook.  And this morning, I actually found him reading in his room before he went downstairs, because it’s a Saturday and he wanted to play a game right after breakfast!  I’m already hearing improvement in his reading too.  I can’t believe it.  I just hope it last for a while.  And now I have another tool in my tool box for next issue that comes up…make a bank!

  1. What a great idea! We too, struggle with the video game/i-touch/t.v. balance in our house. I set timers, give reminders, nag, scream, etc. Some weeks go better than others. I’m going to try your approach; thanks for sharing!

  2. What an excellent idea!

  3. Love this idea. Angelina is just starting to read but this is great for her to practice her sight words!! I am going to use this for tv time. She is not really into games but tv is something she loves!!

  4. So creative! I’m glad you came up with an idea that empowers him by making him the responsible one, as well as building skills he will undoubtedly thank you for one day. Good for you.

  5. Such a great win-win solution. Someday your kids will realize how blessed they are to have such creative, loving parents. I too would love not to have video games in my house, but somehow the husbands just won’t let that happen!


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