Thursday, August 4, 2011

Singing The No-Video-Game Blues

Having three sons means that I have had my fair share of video game obsession "issues." Chip and Corey, the two oldest, have finally come to terms with my feelings on the subject, but Ronnie is still learning.

Ronnie earns video game time by completing daily chores. The chores are not difficult, but they are things he must remember and complete without being told. Included are brushing teeth at least twice a day, remembering to take medicine (which is already portioned out into a schedule box for him), doing his laundry at least once a week, cleaning his room at least once a week, and loading and starting the dishwasher after dinner each night. Performing those chores without being told is what gets him video game time. He has said repeatedly that he understands that.

His average earned time is about 14 hours a week. That sounds like a lot to me, but as long as he is getting the chores done and doing schoolwork, I can live with it. His time resets weekly because he keeps a weekly chart of chores completed. So, on Sunday he is looking at a balance of 14 hours of video game time.

Unfortunately, he has not learned or chooses not to budget that time across the week.

This past Sunday, when he played for three hours straight, I reminded him that he only had 14 hours for the week. He said he understood. As I noticed the banked hours diminishing rapidly early on in the week, I reminded him again. Again, he said he understood.

So here we are at Wednesday evening and his video game account is empty. And he is whiny and angry. I talked to him about the budgeting again, and reminded him that he said he understood. He just signed "whatever" and went into his room to pout. And being frustrated about no video game time spills over into other parts of the day, and he basically turns into Mr. Cranky Pants.

I'm sure he will learn to budget his video game time eventually, and we do need to work on the cranky pants attitude, but I'm just going to consider this all part of his homeschooling efforts for the summer!


Krystle said...

I think that's a great idea!
I'm sure he will get the hang of it eventually. It will be more helpful to him to learn to budget on his own than for you to limit X number/day.

Bonnie said...

What about having him make a visual calendar? A strip of 14 boxes, and he crosses out a box each hour he plays? Or pull tags on a sheet of paper, or 14 post it notes, something like that?

I just wonder if he really IS grasping the concept, or able to visualize 14 hours. Maybe he needs something concrete to see.