How to Manage Video Game Time for Kids: Create A Contract

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Whether your kids play video games on their tablet or a gaming console like the Nintendo Switch, kids love video games. While there are many great benefits to kids playing video games, too much screen time can be problematic. Utilizing parental controls on devices is a great way to manage screen time but it’s also important to teach responsible video game use.

Monitoring screen time for younger children is fairly simple, using built-in parental controls will typically do the trick. However, tweens and teens need a little more guidance and structure. Using a video game contract helps establish written rules about when they can play, how long they can play and what content kids can access on their devices. It also puts responsibility and control in the hands of the child.

How to Manage Video Game Time for Older Kids

Creating a Video Game Contract establishes basic rules for kids to follow.

1. Earn your Video Game Time

Before you can play on a device you have to do all of your daily responsibilities. (Eat breakfast, get dressed, do chores, school, etc… after all of your responsibilities are taken care of then you can play on a device.)

2. Set Time Limits

We typically allow our children to play for a max of 1 hour and then they must find something else to do. Play outside. Read a book. Create something.

3. Set Aside Screen Free Days

Perhaps on school days, children have little to no screen time. Or maybe they can only play on their video game console on weekends or holidays.

4. Set Downtime

Maybe all screens are off between the hours of 8 pm and 8 am. Setting specific times when kids know that it’s not even an option helps prevent conflict.

It’s important for children to know exactly what is expected and what the consequences are beforehand.

Download the Free Screen Time Contract

Maybe your Video Game Contact will look similar to ours or maybe you want to use this one as a guideline to create your own. It’s important that your rules work for your family.

Download the Video Game Contact PDF

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  1. I love this idea! I have a 13 year old who loves her tablet a little to much! The big rule we have in our house for right now is no social media. This includes chatting online in games. So far so good. We also have everything linked together so if she downloads something new I can check it out first.

  2. A contract is a bit much for my boys to comprehend. However, in my household we just don’t give them free will to grab their tablets whenever. They honestly haven’t touched them in over a month. I love it and they play with toys or outside! I agree with monitoring and limiting screen time! I wish other parents would understand.

    1. My younger boys don’t need the contract yet. They don’t really play on tablets much either… but the older kids, that’s all they want to do.

  3. I read an interesting article recently that said parents these days have a whole set of issues that there aren’t great solutions for. This is a great suggestion! My daughter hasn’t discovered video games yet but I’ll keep this in the back of my mind for later!

  4. Oh I absolutely adore this idea! It’s so important to set clear boundaries on screen time and also make sure they are safe on those online games. Saving for when I become a mom.

  5. We have very similar rules. When things aren’t going well behavior wise or too many meltdowns about responsibilities the screen time gets restricted even more.

  6. This is such a great idea! My littles are still too young, but this is something I will definitely keep in mind for the future!

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