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One of the largest fights I have with my seven year old daughter (7 going on 17!) is about video games. Basically she wants to play her video games all. the. time. for. ever. and I don’t want her to. I want her to go outside, and have fun – read a book, play with her Legos – basically enjoy her childhood. But I give in, of course, and allow her to play. If it was only playing, that would be fine, but now there’s also whining involved. How often can she play? How long can she play for? When can she start? Why does she have to finish now? She can’t finish now because she has to go to a save point… ten minutes later the bloody game is still on – it drives me absolutely insane.

I used to try and regulate the duration of ‘playing time’, making it one hour long, but this quickly got canned as I NEVER monitored the time properly – and even when I did there were excuses about finishing levels and getting to checkpoints (all valid excuses, but still!). We used “games” (meaning her DS, our phones or iPads, the Wii…) as a means for good behaviour – meaning we would take away games if she misbehaved and give her more game time if she had proved herself to be ‘good’, but I’m not sure the lesson was learnt and really it gave me headaches for days – all the moaning and crying and whining… ugh.

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