If you’ve got gamer kids like my son, you know that getting them to go to bed is not nearly as easy as it is for kids who love reading. A book is easy enough to take to bed with you, but the Xbox isn’t leaving the living room. I am a strong believer in the “no television in the bedroom” movement. I have determined that on nights when I sleep without a video running, I sleep better, wake up more refreshed, and feel like I’ve slept longer even in the same amount of time. I want my kids to have the same benefits, so I do not allow televisions in their bedrooms.
However, despite the frequent reminders to the BF about not buying my kids or me televisions for our bedrooms, my kids still do have a lot of screens in their rooms. Both have laptops, my daughter has a cell phone (which she earned), and my son has a desktop and tablet (he hasn’t earned his cell phone yet). At lights out, it’s also screens off time. I know what it’s like to need noise to sleep (when I was a teenager, I couldn’t fall asleep without music), so I allow my son to play something on his computer as long as the screen is shut off. During the week, this isn’t a big deal. We have set bedtimes and good reasons for them.
The weekends are where I get worried about my son. I don’t think that on weekends when we don’t have to get up at a certain time that my teenagers should have a bedtime on Friday or Saturday nights. My goal is to get them to set their own schedules and learn what they need to do to take care of themselves. I only have a few short years before they’re off to college / work and on their own.
So, on Saturday, when my boyfriend came over with a copy of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (much to my son’s thrill and delight), my son immediately threw in the game and stayed up past 3 am playing. I do have a firm rule on Sundays that everyone must wake up before noon (before this rule, going to bed on time Sunday nights was too hard for the kids). With his staying up as late as he did Saturday, he kept falling back asleep on Sunday. I get the staying up all night playing your brand new game (especially when you’re the first one of all your friends to get a copy), but I also want my kid to be healthy.
Consequently, I am looking for a way to get my kid to make the healthy decision on his own. I’m thinking implementing a rule that if you don’t get up on time for school Monday, you lose electronics privileges the following weekend, but we have some weekends (like this coming Halloween Ren Fest weekend) where electronics are going to be at a minimal and losing them wouldn’t matter.
Do you have any suggestions to help me get my son to make the right choice when it comes to sleep vs gaming?