Is Your ADHD Child Addicted to Video Games?

How to break the cycle of video game "addiction" in children with ADHD.

Video Games and ADHD Kids

Enforce the rules

At first, you may have to lock up the game or otherwise make sure that the game and its controls are physically unavailable when gaming is off-limits. When he’s allowed to play, you can hand them over and remind him, “You’ve got 30 minutes.”

When playtime begins, set a timer—a visible timer, such as the TimeTimer (timetimer.com), may be especially effective. Then, step in with periodic warnings: “You have 15 minutes left,” “Ten minutes to go.” When time’s almost up, announce, “You can play for five more minutes. Then it will be time to save your game. I’ll give you a few more minutes while I wait here.”

If your child does well with the time limit for several days in a row, consider tracking his progress and awarding a few extra minutes at week’s end. Emphasize that, as he demonstrates greater responsibility, he’ll earn greater privileges.

If, on the other hand, your child continues to play, despite your step-by-step warnings, do not shout or disconnect the power or get into a wrestling match to take back the equipment. Such approaches will only escalate anger. Instead, calmly remind him of the rules.

Then announce that, for each minute he continues to play, one minute will be subtracted from the time allowed the next day. If you check on him after lights out and find him playing the game under the covers, he might lose the privilege for several days.

Once you get the game controls back, lock them up again. When he regains the privilege to play, ask, “Would you like to try following the rules again?”

Offer alternatives

Once you’ve reduced the time your child spends playing video games, find other ways for him to occupy his time — no small feat when school’s out.

Search out an activity he can feel successful at, one that taps into his strengths and talents. If team sports are difficult, look into a sport that emphasizes individual performance, such as swimming, martial arts, golf, bowling, or gymnastics.

Or look into non-competitive group activities offered in your area, such as an arts-and-crafts class, a summer drama troupe, or a nature club. And remember that few children enjoy anything more than a one-on-one summer outing with mom or dad.

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TAGS: Computer|Video Games and ADHD, ADHD, TV, and Video Games,

 

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