By Ari Goldblatt
With the start of school, the challenge of regulating my children’s screen time seems to have gotten a bit more… challenging. Particularly with Apple devices, my kids are on their phones and computers for schoolwork AND social time and it’s hard to distinguish what of their overall screen time is actually being used by non-schoolwork. Lately, in the early evening my kids come to me with appeals to turn off their screen time because they were either just talking with friends or were in the middle of a game. Knowing full well they were on their mobile phones for a large chunk of time (likely hours) I don’t want to just give them more time on their phone for the rest of the evening. With that said, sometimes its early enough in the evening where I don’t mind them connecting with their friends a bit longer, but later on.
This is where the Carrom Game Challenge can come into play! Whether it’s between siblings or a parent, if you want to create a break in your kid’s online or screen time, have them play a best of three games competition in any table or board game. Carrom games like our Carrom Game Board, Nok Hockey and Shuffleboard are perfect for this competition because each game can be completed relatively quickly. If your carroms or crokinole games tend to take a long time then just make it winner takes all after one game. It really does not matter who wins, the whole point is to get your kids to play at least 20 minutes so they get a break from the screen and engage the other side of their brain with a different activity.
What I have found in offering up this challenge, as opposed to telling your kids to read or clean their room, they are eager to get right into playing the game. As you can imagine, once they start playing the competition the fun takes over and they wind up having a really good time.
In the past I would serve up, “do something else” or “be productive” directions when I took their devices away. Usually that was met with all forms of moaning, whining and general belly-aching. Dangling the Carrom Games Challenge carrot in front of them is enough fun for them to engage in the game and have the same quality fun we grew up with when we were young. With the challenge kids will see a means to an end and their end goal of getting their phone back so it shouldn’t be met with much disapproval.
The only thing you need to watch out for is a clever kid trying to intentionally “throw the game”. If you do the best of three games challenge just make sure the competitor who goes down 0-1 doesn’t try to lose the second game on purpose! As the parent and head referee you have full authority and discretion to throw a flag at such unsportsmanlike shenanigans and require a re-do on the disputed game. Having delivered such a ruling, it’s always fun drama to add into the mix that just supports the ultimate goal of limiting that screen time!
So, give the Carrom Game Challenge a go the next time you need to ‘crowbar’ the devices from your kid’s hands and just maybe after a couple rounds of this responsible parenting approach they just might want to play on their own. Of course, if you need to pick-up your own Carrom Game just click the shop button up top and select from any one of our America-made engaging games.