Back at the beginning of the summer, I sat my children down and told them that we were not going to allow them to play Wii or DS games for the whole summer. I explained that their daddy and I were not taking them away as a punishment, but rather as a way to encourage them to find other things to do (that is, more creative things to do) to entertain themselves. I had noticed that my boys, especially, would tune out my voice when they were wrapped up in an electronic game. One had a hard time making eye contact with me when being spoken to, and I found that disturbing because he sure could focus on a game! I really felt like a Wii and DS fast would be a good thing, as I was seeing some signs of these games becoming “idols” in my children’s lives.
As parents, when we see our children loving something too much, elevating something too highly, or spending too much time with something, we must point these things out to them and help them recognize these toys, games, or activities as idols. Anything that captures our love and attention above our love and attention for the Lord is an idol! Beware, they are everywhere!
Anyway, as you can imagine, my children (again, especially the boys) could not believe what I had just declared for the summer. Their complaint was that it was summer and that was the best time to play! I actually thought that was a pretty good argument, but it didn’t move me enough to revoke our new rule. For the first two or three days, it was hard because playing Wii and DS games was so much a part of their routine, I think more so than they even realized, but with time, it did get better!
I encouraged them to play outside, read books, and play quietly together. Here are some things they found on their own to do: met a teenage neighbor boy and played basketball with him, played bike mechanic in the garage, dug holes outside in our field, read books, played Legos, played board games, made cookies, folded origami paper. I also kept them busy with $1 movies once a week, our local library story time once a week, trips to the pool and water park, and play dates with friends.
There is so much to do without the noise and arguing that typically is associated with electronic games in my house! My children are playing together and learning to enjoy the company of each other. They have not even asked recently to play Wii or DS. However, the other night at dinner my boys were talking about when they would get their game privileges back and assumed it would be when we start school, which is in only two weeks. I reminded them that summer officially ends September 22nd!