As I mentioned before, we have three boys who love playing games. Whether we are at home, on the road or at a restaurant, they would prefer to be playing something. The iPad makes that easy, maybe a bit too easy. Just like in the office and on the street where everyone seems to have an iPhone, every parent knows the power of handheld gaming especially when you are out and want to calm the masses. While it may be a little embarrassing when you stack up the various devices (usually by force) when the food arrives, it is so much calmer up to that point. The situation is only compounded when we dine with other families whose children also bring their own electronics. Soon the little faces around the table are aglow with the faint bluish light of tablet screens.
In our house we have had to make some rules due to just how much our boys love to play. Left to their own devices, the boys rush through their homework to ensure enough game time. The first rule was no playing during the week. Friday through Sunday were open assuming that any required schoolwork or other tasks were completed first. When we started taking Karate classes over a year ago, I altered the schedule to entice the boys into going on Saturday mornings during peak game time. The deal was that the hour they lose going to Karate class they could use sometime during the week. This has grown into Wednesday being game night. The hour seems to expand to fill whatever time is unoccupied by required tasks.
When it is time for punishment, it seems the only thing that seems to slow my boys down is “losing time”. This is game time, of course and losing it typically means that they have gone too far and results in a very sad or angry little boy. In hopes that they will gain strength and do better in Karate class, we have added a substitute punishment of doing push-ups. For now, these are also a deterrent, although having to do them is not ultimately as devastating as losing time.