Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Play Their Game

“Put that down please. We don’t play games before we do school! Remember: SCHOOL before PLAY!”

My son’s face was a mixture of anger, displeasure, and shock.

This Mama gave in. “OK. What do you want to do on your tablet?”

His face lit up. “Mama! My dragon is about to hatch! I’ve been waiting since last night to see it. I also want to check on my fish to make sure their filter is clean and they have food. I’m afraid they might die. I also want to check on Tom because he needs to go potty, eat and sleep.”

WOW. Reliable and responsible. “O.K. That’s a lot. Let’s see what needs to be done, but I want to start school in 15 minutes.”


Son, husband and I checked his apps together and I realized my son has been hard at work building a Viking Village and faithfully caring for his various creatures. While I was trying to figure out how to teach him innate motivation and a willingness to take on independent projects, he was already progressing on his own, without my help. I decided that instead of berating and discouraging him from his tablet games, I was going to make sure he had a set time every morning to train his dragons, feed his fish, and care for his cat. In fact, husband and I have downloaded a few of the same apps too. Checking on our various tablet realms at breakfast has become a family affair that has brought us even closer together.


By breaking my “school before play” rule, it gave me the opportunity to admire his choice of games, his maturity and sense of responsibility. By doing things my son enjoys and loves to do, I have improved my relationship with him by enhancing our quality time together.

So, if you can't beat them, join them! Sometimes, it's SO worth it!


  1. I <3 this post! My son "has to check on the dragons" every.single.morning no matter how much of a rush we are it. This is a great way to look at it. Intrinsic motivation to be responsible ftw!

    1. FTW for sure! It makes homeschooling afterwards so much easier too!

  2. I love this! Sometimes it's nice to stop and meet them where they are, which is so difficult to do when the to-do list is mounting. I need to do more of this :) We love pocket pond too :)