jo and Anton

Something nutty happened this month…

Anton got in big trouble on October 1st (long story), but his consequence was losing video games for the entire month. I knew he’d be bummed, since, during the pandemic, the boys have gotten an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. But I didn’t realize what would happen next.

Anton has always been a fun guy (see: cowboy boots, passive aggression), but during this month without video games, he became so present. He was my little pal — we took long walks, gave back rubs and watched movies, I taught him how to light candles, and we had deep conversations. As we strolled around the neighborhood, he asked me, “What happens after you die?” and we talked about different religions and tried to figure out what he believed.

The month’s relaxed pace makes me want to throw out all Anton’s video games! Alex and I are wondering how to extend the ban or cut down on screen time long-term. I hadn’t realized how much video games were affecting Anton’s temperament until now. (Interestingly, I don’t think movies or TV make Anton tweaky — just video games.)

Then again: Toby isn’t affected by playing video games, so it seems kid-specific. And some of the sweetest, most down-to-earth kids I know have zero limits on gaming. Plus, it’s a global pandemic so do what you need to do.

Thoughts? What are your screen time rules? Do you see differences in your kids when they have more or less? Do video games feel different from movies/TV? I’d LOVE to hear…

P.S. Six words to say to your child, and 18 surprising parenting tips.