Expert: How parents can stimulate children’s interest in schoolwork as much as video games

MIAMI VALLEY — At the start of the pandemic about 8 percent of parents said their kids had six hours or more of screen time per day and 10 months later, that number jumped nearly 50 percent.

Parents are now faced with trying to encourage their kids to spend the same amount of effort on school work as they do video games.

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More than 80 percent of teens have a gaming console and more than 55 percent of teens spend more than two hours a day playing video games, according to the Center on Media and Child Health.

“Video games are super privileged, they have immediate gratification, right, so you do something well, you immediately get feedback on the video games,” said Christine Abbuhl, a psychologist at Dayton Children’s.

“For some kids they’re just a lot easier than school and so it’s a chance for them to do something good and confident.”

Abbuhl said the best thing parents can do at home is work to make the school work more engaging.

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Using personal white boards rather than students raising their hands to answer questions is a way to ensure that all kids are participating which might help stimulate their interest.

In the classroom, teachers can usually get kids up and out of their seats as much as possible which might be more difficult during the pandemic.

“If there’s an option, to work on your math facts instead of doing a worksheet by doing a post it on the wall and having to run up and touch the right answer,” Abbuhl said.

This mimics the same heightened sensation that video games offer.

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Video games are immediately gratifying, which is why Abbuhl suggests to try giving input more often and let students know that they are doing a good job on their problems.

Transitioning back into the classroom may give kids the opportunity to have the interactions they’ve been missing out on.

“A lot of kids are happy to be back in the classroom, they like the engagement with teachers and other kids,” Abbuhl said.

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