Opinion: My kids won’t stop playing games when I ask them to.

Neither will mine. (At least not perfectly, all the time.)

But don’t stress about rudeness and defiance yet. There may be a context-specific reason contributing to their unwillingness to stop.

If you’re not a gamer yourself and don’t really understand why being asked to stop is so annoying, consider asking these questions …

Is this a multiplayer game?

(You wouldn’t run onto the soccer field and drag your kid away mid-game. If they’re playing with, or against, other people online, they’re committed.)

When is the next time you can save your game?

(They may have been trying to get to a checkpoint for 20 minutes and are nearly there.)

What are you doing/building?

(They may have a mental list of things they’re trying to achieve before they quit, like to finish constructing a home, or clearing an area of enemies. They could always write a list of tasks for tomorrow, if they worry about forgetting where they’re up to.)

Can I watch you play?

(You’ll get a better sense of the flow to the experience, natural lulls and such. All games have them, and they’re quite different, by genre.)

Alternatively, I often find, “We’re finishing at 8pm,” quite effective – if we agree on a time limit in advance, and as long as they know to save their game and say goodbye beforehand.

Or, I sometimes remind my kids that unsolvable problems in games often fix themselves after a break. I don’t know why, but difficult puzzles in adventure games seem to be easier to solve after your subconscious has mulled them over for a while; tomorrow. Difficult platformers are less frustrating after a break, too.

Lastly, I’m the Gamer-Mum and “let’s finish up” is still a constant negotiation. But, my kids trust me to respect the time they invest into their hobby and I trust them to finish up reasonably, in good time, to eat dinner, go to bed or finish homework.

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