Summer + kids = fun, most of the time. But occasionally the equation is more like: summer+ kids + boredom + computer/video games = day wasted. (My son recently requested his own personal “me” day, which for him meant tons of XBox and food served at half-hour intervals.)
When you have a houseful of children, the temptation to let them blast aliens and explore cyberworlds all summer long must be enormous, especially when the sibling battles threaten to drive Mom crazy. But believe it or not, Kate Gosselin has managed to resist that temptation!
In her weekly blog for Coupon Cabin, the mom of eight says that electronic entertainment is strictly limited in her house. Her tween twins, Mady and Cara, are allowed occasional use of their iPods and cells, but sextuplets Aaden, Collin, Joel, Alexis, Hannah and Leah don’t own those devices yet. Once a week, the family enjoys a “movie night” with treats (shown at left), or they might switch on the TV for a special event like the Olympics.
The rest of the time, the Gosselin clan finds other ways to amuse themselves. “This may sound obvious but I firmly believe in using our imaginations to create ‘old-fashioned’ fun as opposed to using a television or gaming equipment to ‘babysit’ my kids,” Kate writes.
Without the distraction of figures on a screen, the children happily keep busy by splashing in the backyard pool. They also enjoy putting on plays or setting up a pretend “school” led by the big sisters. “In addition to being good for building creativity, this kind of play is good for my bank account!” Kate laughs.
But Kate isn’t totally anti-tech. In fact, she’s found that it can be handy to use electronics as a special treat.The Gosselin kids have Nintendo DS devices and portable DVD players that come out only during long car and airplane trips. Kate keeps them in labeled travel pouches for the occasion. Playing Mario Kart or watching a favorite film helps them pass the time quietly and relieves restlessness.
To save money, Kate buys secondhand equipment and games at Game Stop. “Those little DS games seem to disappear into thin air, so it’s good to know that I won’t be spending a fortune to replace games that don’t make it home from a trip,” she says. She also avoids the trap of running out to the store every time a new handheld model comes on the market.
The reality-show mom encourages other parents to keep their kids unplugged and save the video games for special occasions or travel time. “It works, trust me!”
Agree? What’s your policy on video-game use?
[Photo: via Twitter/img.ly]
Read more of Shana’s writing at Momsperiments.
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