Managing My Son’s PlayStation Time


If Little Man could do just one thing all day, it would be to play on the PlayStation. Occasionally he’ll change things up and play on the Nintendo Switch or watch people playing on the PlayStation on YouTube, yes really. It’s fair to say that at the tender age of just 6 years old, he is a gamer. Which presents me with the fun challenge of managing my son’s PlayStation time.

Managing My Son's PlayStation Time

I can’t quite remember when Little Man first discovered the delights of the PlayStation. We have one in the house as it’s the Husband’s, though he very rarely even plays it these days. But one day my son must have asked what it was and then that was it, the love affair with games began.

As you’d expect, he’s quite good at it. It amazed me how well he could find his way round it and work out what he had to do before he could even read any of the instructions, and of course now that he can read, he’s even better at it. He likes the Lego games, and has just had Lego Dimensions for his birthday so he has plenty to keep him busy.

It has had its moments. He nags and nags to play on it each day and when told that his time is up, even with a five minute countdown warning, there have been plenty of meltdowns. So I have not really been a fan of that PlayStation, and I’m sure that too much screen time as intense as this cannot be good for him. Which is why I decided that something needed to be done to better manage his PlayStation time.

The Cube System

At the start of the school term I brought in a new system. Little Man has five cubes of PlayStation time to use Monday to Friday. Each cube represents half an hour of either games console time or watching games on YouTube. And that’s it, there will then be no more. I know, it sounds so simple, but I have been amazed by how effective it has been.

When I introduced this to him, he understood how it worked very quickly, and even seemed really happy about it. In actual fact, this has slightly reduced the time that he was having, but he hasn’t noticed. so that’s even better. Handing the control over to him completely has worked wonders. From his first week, he considered how best to divvy up the time available to suit him, and he does a good job spreading it over the week. He hasn’t gone crazy and had a couple of hours all in one go, though of course that was a possibility. He’s generally opted for half an hour each night, one night of an hour, and then one evening away from it.

The very best thing about this, aside from reducing time spent on it, is that there are no arguments and no nagging. It’s a miracle! When I let him know that time is up, he simply switches off and goes off to play something else. Not even a slight moan in sight. He understands that he can keep playing, but will then forfeit it on another night, so he simply walks away from it when his time is up. We have a wipe board chart with the five cubes ready each week and he crosses them off as he uses them.

I know that this sounds really easy, but it is working so well. If you’d seen some of the tantrums he’s had in the past when asked to come off the PlayStation you wouldn’t believe it was the same child now. I am happy with the time he has on it now, and it also leaves him lots of time every day after school to play with his sister or his toys. He also always elects to get his homework done when he comes home, before playing on the PlayStation to get it out of the way, as he knows he will still have plenty of time to use his cube.

I am so pleased with this. Screen time has reduced and my boy is much happier with this system, as he feels in control of it. It has worked!

Have you got a little gamer in your house?


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10 thoughts on “Managing My Son’s PlayStation Time

  • Louise Houghton

    Hey J.
    Glad you have found a system that works for you. Screen time is something I am quite passionate about. We don’t have game consoles in our house but the boys have a tablet and laptop each, the former they use to play games but nothing like Fortnite thankfully. They are allowed on their screens Thursday to Saturday inclusive. Harry, due to him going to senior school now, has more time taken up with homework and Alf is happy to train for boxing a lot of the time. They have youth club on Friday evening and then normally come home and watch a film. They also look forward to watching some things on TV with us so it really is only the weekend, and then we have outside jobs they help Jon with along with the novelty of the new quad bike! All in all I think their screen time has reduced and I am soo pleased.
    L.x

    • Jocelyn Post author

      Ah, the quad bike will definitely be a lure! My two don’t have tablets, and my daughter isn’t really interested anyway, it’s just my boy! I think it’s all fine as long as it’s in moderation, like most things, so I feel we’ve got it where it should be now x

  • Jess

    I had the same issue so I’m running a similar marble-based version. But he can earn more marbles by helping round the house and getting ready without nagging etc. It’s working really well too – as you say, handing the control to them seems so much better. And no more nagging and whining to play! Win win win xx (now I need to better control my own screen [Facebook] use!) Xx

    • Jocelyn Post author

      I do think it’s that control being handed over, isn’t it? Makes all the difference, glad you’ve found something that is working for you, too. Best of luck controlling your own screen time! x

  • Jamie Beaglehole

    What a good idea – do you have a photo of the PS4 cubes? I’m going to do exactly the same with Lyall and Richard and let you know how I get on – we have so many squabbles over whose turn it is or who’s had the longest go. This could actually work! Xx

    • Jocelyn Post author

      They’re just vinyl stickers that my husband made (he’s a signwriter, which is handy in this case!) that we’ve popped on a wipe board. I was honestly amazed by how well this has worked as I’ve seen some huge meltdowns in the past around the PS4, but now, he’s absolutely fine switching it off. Hope it works for you, do let me know x

  • Emma t

    Not a gamer,but a big watcher of YouTube families. Yawn. I might try this and the rest of the time it gets removed. My issue is mornings he’s an early riser so uses it before I’m up then wants it after school as well. I need to get him tomorrow and do other things so might try this

    • Jocelyn Post author

      Ah yes, my two watch TV before school as they’re up early. I don’t let them watch YouTube then, though, it’s TV only time. Hope it works for you.