Over the last few weeks, we’ve allowed Alfie to play on the PlayStation with his Daddy. It began quite innocently when Alfie saw Michael playing and wanted a go. Since then, Michael purchased the Lego superhero game for them to play together. I was fine with this as he was still spending lots of time playing with his toys in a world of make belief, he has a story every night, he loves imaginative play, so half an hour here and there on the PlayStation was ok. Until it became bordering on an obsession.
I’ve started to notice over the last couple of weeks that he’s wanted to play less with actual toys and more on the PlayStation and when he’s not playing on it he’ll watch videos on YouTube of people playing it. He’s also spent less time playing with all his toys that he got for Christmas, when during the holiday’s he played with them all day. Not only that, his behavior started to go downhill again and over the last few days he’s started to lash out again when he doesn’t get his own way.
On Friday afternoon my inlaws picked him up from nursery when he finished at lunch time, as they do every day, and took him out for a couple of hours. When my mother in law got back with him, before Alfie had even taken his coat off he was asking to go on his game. I told him no as he’s just got home and I wanted us to do a new phonics book I’d got him. Cue an epic meltdown. I don’t think I was being that unreasonable but he was shouting at me, throwing things at me, screaming at me – all in front of his Nan and whilst I was holding Nate. He was so bad that my mother in law ended up taking him back to their house because Nate was still off colour after his injections a few days before and she knew that Alfie was unlikely to settle at home and with Nate needing me so much it was unfair on both of them.
I felt awful, the Mum guilt set in, I felt like a failure because he would rather go to his grandparents than stay home with me! But then I realised letting him go on it would’ve been the easy option. I am guilty of letting him go on it during the day too often if I have to see to Nate and I wanted to break this habit. When he got home later that night he was ok for a while but before bed he turned into a monster which resulted in him being banned from the PlayStation all weekend.
Saturday morning’s are usually the time when Alfie and Michael will play on it together but this morning they actually played games instead until we went out. They played pretending to be Superheroes rather than playing it with a control pad and Alfie thoroughly enjoyed it and it was just so lovely to hear him in fits of laughter.
A few hours later in town, he picked up some bubbles and he had a fantastic time waving the wand around outside watching how high the bubbles went. It was a look of pure joy in his face.
Not only that, but he’s been so loving and well behaved and I really believe it’s because he’s not started his day playing the PlayStation. Now I just need to break it to him that the PlayStation is gong to be a weekend treat!
Do your kids have screen time?