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To want my son aged 5 to play non-computer games with his friend?

(50 Posts)
jollyfrenchy Sun 06-Dec-15 15:48:14

DS has a friend who he absolutely loves, they've known each other since nursery. They are both 5. DS is very keen on playing Disney Infinity, Lego PS4 games etc, and his friend is totally obsessed. Friend just came round to play and the moment he walked through the door he said "Can we play PS4?" When I suggested they play with actual toys/scooters/board game etc first they reluctantly went upstairs for a bit and then outside for a bit but punctuated their play with asking "Can we play PS4 yet?"

When DD1 was this age she wasn't into computer games, but I never let her watch telly when friends were round. Now, do I just think, "This is what they love to do together, let them", or do I try to restrict their screen time and make them do other things?

When DS goes round to his friend's house he comes home saying all he did was play computer games (which he thinks is brilliant). I also once picked him up and he was watching the Lego Movie, it was near the beginning, but she said they'd already watched it all through once and it had started again!

Obviously don't want to criticise the other mum's parenting, and I'm not that precious about screen time , but I do try to stop mine staring at screens all day long. What would you do? They are very cute together and do really like each other (still call each other best friend despite being at different schools) so I don't want to stop them having playdates.

MTPurse Sun 06-Dec-15 15:51:26

Welcome to 2015. Unfortunately this is how it is and this is how it will remain. Kids do not want board games or scooters anymore sad

Chattymummyhere Sun 06-Dec-15 16:21:32

It's how most play dates go these days. I always try and drag away for a little while with other bits but it always go back to computer games. The same seems to happen at others houses. Brief go on trampoline then on the computers again.

Hissy Sun 06-Dec-15 16:54:48

I just tell mine no. Friends come round to play, not to sit next to you while you play. I give them a ball and they play outside for a while until they are thirsty and then they play on some tech grin

My ds is 10, so the pressure is greater for computer games, but at 5 yrs, you get to say what they play on. Just say no.

Earlybird Sun 06-Dec-15 17:06:39

Left to their own devices, I think most dc would opt first for computer/telly. It is the easy / obvious activity.

Would it work to tell them they can play computer games for an hour (use a timer if you need an audio cue), and then after that, they need to find something else to do? That way, they are getting their 'first choice', but you are also putting them on notice that there is a limit, and then they'll have to move on to something else.

lostintoys Sun 06-Dec-15 17:13:34

DS and DSS, both 9, love scooters, board games, football, music etc, and they also love computer games. It's all about making sure they have a variety of interests and not allowing the technology to dominate.

Sparklingbrook Sun 06-Dec-15 17:16:25

If it was the summer and they could go and play in the garden or out the front I would be trying to encourage that.

But if they want to play PS4 I would let them for a set time at 5 years old if they had a 2 player game.

Snossidge Sun 06-Dec-15 17:18:29

I have a 5 year old and he doesn't have a games console at all. If he has friends round I often put the TV on near the end to calm them down (small house + many children) but they spend most of their time running round being ninjas or building stuff with lego.

Sparklingbrook Sun 06-Dec-15 17:20:50

I don't think mine had a console at 5. It was all about Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles. But that was 11 years ago and I presumed things had changed as the games seem to have improved and there are more for the younger ones.

bigkidsdidit Sun 06-Dec-15 17:20:53

My almost 5 year old doesn't play any games and nor do his friends. He went on a play date yesterday and they did colouring and Lego. I just refuse to buy a console.

In your case I would restrict it. Or pretend it was broken grin

BertieBotts Sun 06-Dec-15 17:23:59

DS is like this too. I normally avoid it to begin with and then put a time limit on or just stop if they are getting frustrated. It's worst when the friend doesn't have as much interest in games as DS because you can tell they are getting bored and frustrated.

Cadenza1818 Sun 06-Dec-15 17:28:49

Mtpurse - that's rather negative. Do you not have a say in the upbringing of child?! Neither of mine have consoles, they've never asked. Most of their friends don't have them and they play all sorts of things. I hate this 'its 2015' attitude. You can decide whether to be a sheep or not. Clearly it depends where you live.
Ps I'm not anti screen stuff, just not going to push it on them

bigkidsdidit Sun 06-Dec-15 17:30:21

I do find the 'it's 2015' attitude odd. For 16 year olds yes - but parents control everything a 5yo does, surely. No need for sad faces - just stop facilitating it.

BackforGood Sun 06-Dec-15 17:31:48

Tell them no.
You are the adult.
Say 'No, Fred has come round to play with you, not sit looking at a screen all morning. PS4 is not an option' and stick to it.

Sparklingbrook Sun 06-Dec-15 17:33:05

I have a 16 and a 13 year old. I couldn't tell you about 5 year olds and consoles because I don't know any.

5 year olds in 2015 are far more gadget savvy and aware than my two because they weren't everywhere like they are now.

SarahSavesTheDay Sun 06-Dec-15 17:37:19

When my 13 year old has friends over, they either play video games or do homework.

At 5 I didn't allow a lot of screen time on playdates. Fat lot of good it did me, but there you go.

parrotonmyshoulder Sun 06-Dec-15 17:40:33

My 6 year old doesn't know what a computer game is!

Only a slight exaggeration - she sees her dad play a bit and bigger kids on the wii at after school club. But she has no interest whatsoever and certainly won't be getting a games console or tablet any time soon.

Sparklingbrook Sun 06-Dec-15 17:40:43

It's harder when the 5 year old already has a console to tell them they can't play with it than if you had never introduced one in the first place I would think.

jollyfrenchy Sun 06-Dec-15 17:40:48

Totally agree that I am the parent and can say no, but when they ask twenty times, it does begin to wear you down, plus I want them to have fun while having a playdate together, and constantly being told they can't do what they want to do is not very fun. Also in some ways playing a 2 player game which is what they were doing is more interactive than watching a film, I guess - they are talking to each other the whole time about what they are doing in the game.

Earlybird I like your thinking maybe I'll try that another time. As it was, of a 2 hour play date they played with superhero toys upstairs, outside on the scooters and swings for the first hour, and then spent the second hour on the PS4.

I'm not anti-screens, if I was then I wouldn't have them in the house. I can see the fun in them, (plus DH is a big gaming fan) so I don't mind it and usually he only plays on it about an hour or two a week, partly because I claim not to know how to switch it on when DH not there! It's just the fact that I feel they ought to play other stuff together. But if that's what they both really want to do then maybe it doesn't matter.

Definitely a different kettle of fish if the other child wasn't into it, then really antisocial and if DS suggested it without the other kid asking for it too I definitely would say no.

wibblies Sun 06-Dec-15 17:43:01

"It's how most play dates go these days"

It really isn't in our neck of the woods. And ours are 7 and 11.

RiverTam Sun 06-Dec-15 17:52:48

No consoles at playdates for DD (nearly 6), and TV rarely features either, at our house or at friends. So not inevitable unless you make it so, at this age.

No real advice for you OP, just disputing this 'fact' from MTPurse.

SummerNights1986 Sun 06-Dec-15 18:32:21

What are they playing op? I don't think that 'screens are screens' or computer games computer games as such and I have more of an issue with some than others.

My ds's are 5 and 7 and I dislike a few of the games they have for the PS3 such as Skylanders and various car/racing games, Sonic and so on...I try and limit them as much as possible. They sit mindlessly in near silence racing/fighting etc. It's boring and probably no good for them.

The main thing they're into though is Minecraft and I don't have any problem with them playing this (although within reason still, an hour at a time usually). It's so interactive and creative and I honestly feel it does them as much good as playing with a tub of lego or a board game.

They talk all the way through, and over the past 4 months or so have created an entire-and actually really impressive-World. They started on simple structures but have progressed to planning out (in the old fashioned way with pen and paper) how to build huge castles and moats and obstacle courses and so on. Which includes separate research for ideas that they do on google, calculation of the area they need for a certain building (a decent bit of maths included there!), a lot of patience and tenacity to get a project finished and so on. I've also bought ds1 the set of minecraft books that give ideas and cheats and the amount he reads has shot through the roof as a result, and improved his reading skills no end.

I do think that some games include so much more than just sitting and staring which I think is the misconception lots of people have.

WaitrosePigeon Sun 06-Dec-15 18:55:24

I am clearly very naive. My 5 year old DS doesn't know what a PS4 is.

He only knows outside, Lego and My Little Pony...

Artandco Sun 06-Dec-15 19:09:18

My 5 year old def doesn't know about consoles. He's never played one as far as I know ( he's never been left alone on a play date either so Dh and I would see).

Both children have a lot of friends over. They all happily play toys around here. We haven't a TV at all and I don't think a child visiting has ever noticed/ mentioned it.

Favourites seem to be train track, marble run, Lego or matador construction here. They often all draw/ paint also. Mine are both boys

fuzzpig Sun 06-Dec-15 19:11:56

It's harder in bad weather I think. Our ancient ipad is dead now anyway but when it was in use, we would let guests play on it if they wanted but each child would still get the limit (30mins each) just like the DCs did on any other day, so it doesn't seem strict it's just how it is in our house IYSWIM.

YANBU, keep trying with the board games. I've got my two hooked and it to my surprise takes priority over screens and often play something as soon as they wake up. Although you do have to brace yourself for arguments about rules and such <sigh>

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