I had another bad parenting moment.
I wanted my son to stop playing Mine Craft and to do something else…anything else!
We had started a daily schedule that included lunch at the same time of day, academics, chores, and free time scattered throughout the day. My son was pushing back, especially when I told him that we were doing this to begin preparing for school.
He would need to adjust to eating lunch at a certain time instead of eating when it was convenient.
He needed to go through his computer withdrawals before the first day.
He should practice stopping a desired activity so that he will do the required, less-desirable activity.
As I write these things, it seems a bit sad; however, these are the facts for a child that goes to a big school with twenty or more kids in their class. You are one of many…you are not the one.
Sad maybe, but this is his reality…at least for now.
So in a moment of frustration I made a comment about Mine Craft that maybe I shouldn’t have…
“You need to stop that game…it is a ridiculous time sucker.”
As you can probably imagine, he took issue with this statement.
First…”It is not just a game! This is where I feel as though I gain respect from other players.”
Second…”How could you call Mine Craft ridiculous?! I don’t call your work ridiculous!”
Third…”How is this game any different from your phone or the TV?”
Ouch! He had a point with that one!
I tried to back pedal a little and then I realized…I was sticking with my original statement. Maybe ridiculous was a bit harsh, but the truth of the matter is that Mine Craft IS a game. It isn’t his job (he claims that it is) and it also isn’t volunteer work (although he made a strong argument for the fact that he does help others when they need it most) and it IS a HUGE time sucker!
I apologized, which I seem to be doing a lot these days, and explained my concerns. I explained to him that we needed to prepare a bit for school. I wouldn’t be doing my job as a parent if I let him do whatever he wanted and then dropped him off to school on the first day without any preparation. It would be a set up and I wanted him to have the biggest chance to be successful.
He listened and didn’t say much about this whole schedule. We kept at the schedule and it seemed to get a bit better. I am hoping that this training does help him for returning to school.
What do you do with your kids to prepare them for the return to school. How do you get them ready to be one of many?
I don’t wish to seem flippant. I know that children are different. I can only say what we do with our son. First…we home school every day (weekends and all holidays)…his home school is at a higher level…and is more rigorous than is his regular school. He looks forward to school starting as he may see other children…and he gets to have a variety of work. For him, school is a break. He keeps pretty much the same schedule on all days. His studies come first…then his leisure reading…then exercise. After dinner…he then has his free time to do as he wishes.
Just one suggestion…by having your son do all of his necessary activities first…then what he does with his free time will no longer be a point of contention. He will be able to fully enjoy his Mine Craft without guilt or worry. It will become even more enjoyable as he will have fully earned it before playing. He will also organize himself in order to economize his time because by completing his tasks early…he will have more time to play Mine Craft.
The larger concept he will be practicing (and with practice…it will become intuitive)…is one of deferred gratification. He will be able to succeed in life by a simple organization of lifestyle which puts all necessary daily functions first…then the desires afterward. He will learn to love the complete freedom of having no dark clouds over his head (work after play)…and he will love the sweetness of a truly earned reward (play after work). This is where study habits are formed…and where work ethics are molded.
I saw that you have breaks throughout the day…as do we (15 minutes or so at a time – free reading). However, so far as a favored activity…especially one which is lengthily…we have Alex hold off until the end of the day. It matters psychologically. One of the keys in life is to always place a carrot for yourself at the end of each day. A reward for objective completion becomes a real treat. When everything else fails in a bad day…you still have that carrot. A carrot which is dangled and nibbled on throughout the day…is also one which is snatched from them that many times throughout the day. At the end of their nibble…there is always frustration. Also, a snack is never a fully satisfying meal.
Recap: By doing all necessary work first…he will want to complete it early. He will teach himself how to organize his time effectively. He will always have something to look forward to…and…he will have control over his free time…and so, he will have no one to blame but himself if he loses some of his time. This will preempt future arguments concerning free time. You both win.
After reading my post and reading your suggestions, I have already changed the schedule around.
I thought stretching it out was better but I think he will appreciate having his time at the end, as a reward or incentive, and knowing that he won’t have to stop to go back to my “have to” job.
I think that after the initial transitional stage…both will find it to be gratifying.
You may have some battles until the routine is fully established. However, just as in potty training, it will have lifetime benefits 🙂
I am so glad for you. You will soon be reaping the rewards of such a schedule!
Glad you were able to get things in a better place after the initial issue. We have them to do summer work. We also have them visit the school. I will be more wary of bed time over the next week or so as a way of preparing for school.
The other adjustment that we have been working on is making the switch from flip flops to “real” shoes!
My boys are crazy for croks. Real shoes are not a good deal around here.
Shiroi Tira and I seem to have a similar “carrot” philosophy. My son struggles with transitions (especially stopping something he’s enjoying), and does well with a known structure. He LOVES media time – watching tv and playing video games. We have limited media time to one hour a day, which he gets after accomplishing other necessities (homework, violin practice, chores). It is amazing how he really focuses to get those other items done so that he can have media time. Hope you find a schedule that works for your family!
Thank you for your visit and comments!
Tomorrow we start with a nanny and are thankful we have time to work the kinks out before school 😉