Healthy living, healthy parenting, healthy gardening. One Family's approach to off grid living.

The gift horse of video games, parenting boys

Once upon a time I bristled at video games.  6 years and 3 sons (and a husband) later and I have a video game shack in the yard.

I’m okay with this.  Really.  When Mr.T set out to build the man hut I was truly offended, I mean, after all we have a ton of stuff we need working on in the yard.  Do we really need 100sq foot cabin with loft?  The answer is yes.  I love the Hide Out.  It’s my favorite room in the house.  But I rarely go into it.

This is where weapons are sent, noisy toys go to die and where my trifecta  snuggles into blankets, busts out the popcorn and gets into LEGO video games.

The oldest is particularly die hard in his gaming love, but I know it is just time before the others follow suit.

The following is the genius of Mr. T and is working so very well I need to brag.

Labor = video game minutes.

Coach Rapper will do anything for video game time.  He comes and ASKS me if there is any thing he can do.  He takes out the compost AND washes it down and returns the pail to the counter.  The play loft has never been cleaner!  He picked up wood for Mr.T ALL afternoon.  He cut grass.  He is the garbage and recycling patrol.

And we are stingy.  2 minutes, occasionally 5 minutes or more offered.

For example- I have a standing offer for 30 minutes of screen time for picking up a wheelbarrow full of rocks from the yard.  He has accepted the offer, but he is only about 10% done.

So step back for a second.

He is counting ALL the time amounts up.

“So if I pick up all the playmobil I’ll be at 47 minutes?”

We’re too broke to pony up for allowance.  And 2 minutes of gaming is a WAY bigger incentive than 25 cents!

And, the best part?  I would have let him play anyway.

*note- this method does not work on ornery 3 yr olds.



4 responses

  1. Genius! My husband has his own ‘room’ in our house for his overflowing stuff and I should definitely consider moving the boys’ stuff in there soon. It would be better if it were a separate structure, as is yours, but I’ll just have to make due! I love the idea of video game minutes as allowance!

    May 24, 2011 at 7:02 pm

  2. brooke

    poor little ali-man. i imagine him with his head in his hands moaning, ‘go away poopy face.” life is suffering!

    May 25, 2011 at 6:21 am

  3. L.

    Since I’ve been dating a gamer for 5 years now I too have begun to truly love video games. I claim often that my favourites are the ones designed for kids or girls (or both). If you need game suggestions I’m your man.

    May 31, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    • Cece

      Lay it on me baby

      May 31, 2011 at 12:53 pm

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