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Games as Behavior Modification… It Works

Games can get kids to do amazing things!
This article is over 11 years old and may contain outdated information

No one likes cleaning.

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I’m a stay at home mom and I know I dread cleaning like it’s the plague, but like a good adult I get to it. Getting kids to clean their room, however, is a major chore in itself. I used to just want to tear my hair out when it came to get them to pick up their toys. I even went so far as to get a trash bag and threaten to throw their toys away if they couldn’t pick them up. These methods work, but only at the time. I had to find a new method that worked repeatedly. Enter video games, stage left.

My kids kept repeatedly asking permission to play the Xbox or the PC.

Naturally, they did not like to hear the word ‘no’ and chaos would ensue. One day, a light bulb went off. Why not give them what they want at a price? It was worth a shot to me. I would lose nothing in the process but had everything to gain! Next time they asked for game time, I would simply ask if their room was clean. Of course, that first time, the answer was naturally no. I told them if they wanted game time, they had to have clean rooms first.

It was on then.

They disappeared for about an hour. I got curious and went to look in on them to find them furiously cleaning their rooms. They wanted that game time very badly. I figured I would keep trying this method when they would ask. It seemed to work for several weeks so I told them that if they cleaned their room everyday, they could earn 30 minutes of game time. For my youngest child, she tends to forget so she doesn’t clean her room everyday without prompting. But for my eldest, this was a life changing move.

Every day now, I can easily find my oldest with her door shut for a while in the afternoon or early evening. Peeking in, I can find her trying to surprise me by cleaning up her room. She barely misses a day now. No more tearing my hair out or having to fuss with them about clean rooms. Everyone gets what they want and everyone is happy. Think it has been so successful that it is time to up the ante and see what I can get them to do next!

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Image of Mary Yeager
Mary Yeager
I am a wahm mom of two who loves gaming, both electronically and table top.