The thought of your child having unlimited gaming time might make you want to rip the plug of the Xbox out the wall…but hear us out! We are not saying abandon them for four weeks on an island of gaming…we have a plan to take you away from the power struggle!

There is now significant positive psychology research to suggest that done the right way, our children have a capacity to discover and adhere to their own video game limits.

What’s the plan?

1.   Get clear on how you like to roll as a family (together time, socialising with other people, exercise, chores that contribute to the family running smoothly, Sunday lunch with gran -what makes your family yours?!)

2.   Relate those values to some categories that reflect them eg: social, exercise, study)

3.   Then let your child choose one thing they will do in each category every day.

So the first step is to sit with your child and get them to WRITE DOWN the categories they consider important. This is a good place to offer quiet suggestions. The list on your fridge might look something like this

•⁠  ⁠Social: having an IRL play date, going acrobranching with dad 🤝

•⁠  ⁠Creative: One painting, make some earrings, practising a dance 🎨 

•⁠  ⁠Physical: riding my bike, going for a swim, taking the dog for a walk around the block 🏃‍♂️

•⁠  ⁠Academic: Practicing my spelling, reading, learning my 8 x table 📚

•⁠  ⁠Contributing to the House: cleaning my room, cleaning the pool etc 🧹

•⁠  ⁠Self-Care: taking a shower, listing healthy foods she ate that day 🛁

Then, and here’s the rub, allow your child to tick off whatever she did in the category each day and monitoring his/her own time during the day, WITH MINIMAL SUPPORT or INPUT FROM YOU

And then, as long as the boxes get ticked for real, you allow them to play video games at any time during the day (only), THAT THEY CHOOSE TO. This is a really important detail. This isn’t a trade, it is not “if you do this, then you get that” proposition. It is about understanding that we can regulate our own behaviour, show up in the family at the same time. Gaming is not a “reward” for getting “work” done first. It is about realising that I can regulate myself, participate in my family, show up in my life and engage. It’s about helping our children to realise that they can learn the skill of SELF REGULATION. 

How to get the conversation started:

1.   “We know that we are fighting over gaming time and we also know that you are getting old enough to start monitoring yourself. We are not expecting perfection, but we want you to work towards making screen time just one of the many valuable, useful, rewarding things that you enjoy and get done each day”.

2.   “What are the important things you think make YOU, you in this family – your soccer practice, your love of your dog, time on the weekend with friends, surfing with dad on Saturday mornings, Sunday lunch at home, studying for your S test on Wednesdays)”

3.   “Let’s put those into categories (exercise study etc). We want you to add gaming as a category too because we know that is also a big part of your life right now”. 

4.   “Let’s take a week and see if you can tick off ONE activity from EACH CATEGORY”. 

5.   “We aren’t going to interfere, we are going to see how it goes for the week. If you manage to do something from each category and gaming is a part of that, it’s a win-win for all of us. Are you up for trying that?”  


·    Don’t expect perfection straight away.

·    The only boundaries set by you are that bedtime stays the same; no gaming at night; no devices in the bedroom and of course, only playing games that you have a green on, which are age-appropriate and which have appropriate parental controls etc. In the beginning you can also put a limit on the amount of game time in one day.

·    If your child doesn’t complete his/her plan, at first you might go gently and just ask what they might do differently the next day to get it right. 

·    Agree ahead of time that if they don’t get it right three days in a row, there will be no gaming at all for the next two days of that week. This gives them autonomy to self rectify. Autonomy here is crucial. 

·    Give them time to self correct! They will!!


Need more help putting in device boundaries?

Our DAMN! THIS DEVICE Mini Workshop is the complete Game Plan when it comes to managing  kids and their devices. You will leave the workshop with clear scripts and tools you can implement immediately to:

  • Get your child to agree to the basic ground rules around device management in your home.
  • Put the basic safety requirements for YouTube, TikTok, and gaming in place.
  • Prevent screen-related meltdowns.
  • Stay connected to your child, even though you feel like you have lost him/her to his device.

The great news? We have made it EASY FOR YOU! The workshop is made up of four 15 minutes modes that can be downloaded and watched at any time.

Sign  up to the workshop here:https://klikd.co.za/mini-workshop/

Stay connected

Sarah and Pam

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